Istanbul, Turkey – In a farewell go to, outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated her nation will proceed to keep up a working relationship with Turkey, harassed cooperation on migration and different points, and defended Berlin’s diplomatic efforts at upholding human rights.
“The relationship between Turkey and Germany, with its positive and negative sides, will go on,” Merkel informed reporters at a joint information convention with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the steps of Istanbul’s Dolmabache Palace. “Everybody knows the security and independence of both our countries depends on each other.”
Erdogan stated Turkey would “always remember the good faith and the contribution” Merkel made in the direction of sustaining ties with Turkey.
“From prevention of irregular migration from Syria, to dispatching humanitarian aid to northern Syria, on many topics Merkel did not abstain from taking the initiative and taking responsibility,” Erdogan stated.
Merkel’s celebration narrowly misplaced elections in Germany final month, and a brand new authorities will include a coalition that can possible be extra centre-left, and certain extra important of Ankara than earlier than.
Merkel, who led Germany for 16 years, and Erdogan, who has led Turkey for 19 years, are maybe probably the most seasoned political leaders within the area. At occasions, Merkel has pushed for sustaining ties with Turkey regardless of stress at home over contentious points comparable to migration and human rights.
On Saturday the 2 briefly acknowledged the completely different types of presidency the 2 nations have adopted.
“Sixteen years is not a short time, and I have been in power for more than 19 years,” Erdogan stated when requested to match the political acumen of Merkel.
“We have talked with and worked with many world leaders, and the chancellor was quite successful in administering Germany,” Erdogan stated. “We will watch the developments of our relations, but without a coalition [in Germany] they could have been in a better place. It’s not easy to work with a coalition government.”
In 2018, Turkey started switching to a presidential system of presidency, handing extra energy to Erdogan’s workplace in what he stated was an effort to get rid of an unstable parliamentary system that was too inclined to celebration politics and the necessity for coalitions.
Markel laughed off the suggestion from Erdogan to make such a change in Germany, saying she was centered on sustaining good relations with Turkey.
An necessary diaspora
Ankara and Berlin have notably shut ties partly due to the presence of hundreds of thousands of Turkish immigrants in Germany. This yr marks the 60th anniversary of a landmark labour settlement that introduced Turkish employees to Germany.
“There are nearly four million people of Turkish heritage in Germany,” Merkel stated. “They are doctors, scientists, academicians, and their parents were the first immigrants.”
Turkish political events, together with Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party, repeatedly marketing campaign among the many Turkish diaspora in Germany.
But the connection has additionally meant developments in Turkey, particularly regarding Erdogan, are carefully adopted in Germany, and human rights points in Turkey – from freedom of the press to rights of minority Kurds to the secular nature of the state – have been mentioned in Germany maybe greater than in every other European nation.
German tv comedians have confronted investigations over “insulting” Erdogan through the years, and German journalists have confronted legal circumstances in Turkey for his or her work.
Turkey, which has lengthy had aspirations to change into a full European Union member, presently faces censure and attainable suspension of its membership within the Council of Europe over its human rights file at home.
Asked about these human rights considerations, Merkel responded with the diplomatic flare that has come to mark her tenure, saying there was nonetheless work to be performed.
“Sixteen years were not enough to solve these issues, but we have accomplished many things,” Merkel stated. “We have to speak about these issues and we try to find solutions. Sometimes we have very different ideas, but at the core, I can say when we talk we come to the best results.”
‘Cooperation on migration to continue’
Over the previous few years although, dialogue between the 2 nations has largely been taken up by the problem of refugees and migrants, hundreds of thousands of whom have made their means by way of Turkey, heading west in an effort to settle within the EU.
Turkey has repeatedly stated it will like European governments to do extra to stem the circulation of migrants. In 2016, Merkel pushed by way of a deal between the EU and Turkey that may ship 6 billion euros (about $7bn) in change for Turkey internet hosting that tide of refugees and migrants.
Over the years, Erdogan has complained that funding has not reached Turkey, and at occasions has threatened to elevate obstacles to migration to the EU altogether.
Turkey’s considerations over migration have once more come to the forefront in current weeks over fears of a brand new wave of Afghans fleeing instability of their nation.
Merkel stated regardless of that pressure, she hoped help given to Turkey by the EU would proceed, and extra of the promised funding would reach Ankara.
“Turkey has undersigned many projects on the issue of migration and we have been cooperating against human trafficking,” she stated. “Together with the UN, we have already and will work to prevent a further humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.”