Frank Walter Steinmeier, the President of Germany began speaking by praising a long history of relations between Turkey and Germany. He praised the role of Turkey in accepting persecuted Jews and the role of German during Nazi rule.
At the Presidential Place, Steinmeier said, “Eighty years ago, Germans found refuge in Turkey — today, a worryingly large number of people from Turkey are seeking refuge here in Germany from the growing pressure on civil society.” He talked before Erdogan, his wife, Emine, and distinguished guests.
“As we discussed this morning in detail, I am, as president of this country, concerned about German citizens who are imprisoned in Turkey for political reasons, and I am also concerned about Turkish journalists, trade unionists, lawyers, intellectuals and politicians who remain behind bars,” Steinmeier added.
Turkey’s deteriorating human rights situation and the detention of German nationals are the reasons of strain on relations between Berlin and Ankara. He also hope that freedom, rule of law and human rights would return to Turkey soon.
While, Erdogan in his speech informed Steinmeier that he seemed to have received false information regarding the arrests in Turkey. Erdogan went on to slam Germany to host thousands of terrorists from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and the Gulen movement. “Thousands of members of PKK, which is recognized as a terror group by the EU, walk freely in Germany,” Erdogan said. He added, “The FETO terror organization [Gulen movement], unfortunately, hundreds, thousands of them are walking freely in Germany.”
Erdogan criticized Germany for hosting Can Dundar, a prominent Turkish journalist who was convicted of espionage, “When journalists are involved in acts of terrorism and have been condemned by a Turkish court, how can anyone still defend them?” he asked. “And here he gets a nice role.”
German and Turkish sides are trying to heal relations, which have fallen over the past two years.
Hannah Weber is a seasoned journalist with nearly 10 years experience. While studying journalism at FernUniversität Hagen, Hannah found a passion for finding engaging stories. As a contributor to Deutch News, Hannah mostly covers human interest pieces.