Sep 05 2018

Turkey’s human rights issues to be discussed during German Foreign Minister’s visit

Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said Turkey is an important partner of Germany and Germany’s concerns over human rights related issues in Turkey will be discussed during his official visit to the country, which began on Wednesday.

“We are determined to keep working hard to improve our relations. My trip to Turkey is intended as a contribution to this effort,” Maas also said on Twitter.

Berlin and Ankara have ween working on mending their ties after a series of diplomatic rifts, including the imprisonment of German Die Welt reporter Deniz Yücel and other German citizens.

A crowded agenda will be discussed during Maas’s visit to Turkey, which will also prepare the two countries for president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s first official visit to Berlin in September since becoming president in 2014, Deutsce Welle Turkish said on Tuesday.

Maas previously said that his visit to Turkey would prioritise normalisation of relations and the release of seven German citizens jailed in Turkey for “political reasons” would be on the agenda. 

Maas is also expected to convey the German government’s concerns regarding the deterioration of human rights and the rule of law in Turkey, DW said. 

The Turkish government seeks a positive update of the German government's travel warning for German citizens visiting Turkey, while the German side says concrete steps in the direction of restoring the rule of law in Turkey is a precondition for that change. 

Turkey’s economic difficulties and potential German financial aid to Turkey are also expected to be on the agenda of Maas’s visit, yet German government thinks that financial cooperation can be possible only if Turkey implements a comprehensive structural reform agenda, which will also be discussed during the Minister of Treasury and Finance Berat Albayrak’s visit to Berlin on Sep. 21. 

Berlin also took notice of Turkey’s recent calls to reinvigorate Turkey’s EU reform agenda, but Turkey’s progress in democratisation will be crucial to relaunch Turkey’s accession talks with the EU, as well as the modernisation of the customs union between two parties, DW added.