On the second day of her visit to Turkey, the Federal Foreign Minister sought an exchange with the opposition and civil society in Ankara. In the capital, Annalena Baerbock met with leading politicians from the largest opposition party, the CHP, the pro-Kurdish HDP, and the national conservative Iyi party. There were no meetings with representatives of the Turkish government in Ankara.
It’s about the togetherness of people
At their meeting in Ankara, Baerbock said, with a view to the issues at stake, that German-Turkish relations are “so much more than the construction sites.” She is concerned with relationships “that build on people working together”. That’s why it’s important to her to meet local people. In order to underline her position, she is specifically looking for an exchange with civil society. This is “the heart of our togetherness”.
HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar thanked Baerbock for her open criticism of the Turkish government. “We welcome that,” said Sancar. Baerbock did not avoid the “necessary confrontation”. “Direct statements and confrontation are sometimes inevitable, not just required,” Sancar said. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu always speaks a very clear language at such meetings. This is the first time that a German member of the government has behaved so clearly. “That was fine,” said Sancar.
Women’s rights are “an indicator of the democratic state of a society”
After the political talks, the Greens politician visited a counseling center for women who have been victims of domestic violence. A center for refugees from Syria and Iraq was also on their agenda. During the visit to the advisory center of the Foundation for Women’s Solidarity, Baerbock emphasized that women’s rights worldwide are “an indicator of the democratic state of a society.”
In Ankara, Baerbock first visited the mausoleum for the founder of the state, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. She laid a wreath there. This is mandatory for an inaugural visit.
Baerbock did not comment on her argument with Cavusoglu in Istanbul on Saturday. The press conference of the two politicians on Friday turned into an open confrontation about the expected Turkish offensive in northern Syria, the imprisonment of the opposition leader Osman Kavala in Turkey and, above all, about the island dispute between Greece and Turkey.
Turkey is regularly criticized for undermining basic human and democratic rights. Hundreds of government critics are being held in Turkish prisons. Activists and international organizations regularly accuse Erdogan of using the judiciary as a political tool, especially since thousands of judges were ousted after the failed 2016 coup.
qu/kle (dpa, afp)