Turkish minister urges Merkel to stick to her words

EU minister Omer Celik asks German Chancellor to remember her motto is to talk to each other, and not about each other

Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik on Monday asked the German chancellor to hold on to her words that the two countries should engage in talks.

“We invite [Angela] Merkel back to her own words,” Celik said, during an interview with Turkish private broadcaster NTV.

Celik was referring to Merkel’s visit to the U.S. this March, where she had said that her moto was to talk to each other, and not about each other.

“Turkey and our president are becoming part of Germany’s internal politics and not a single day passes in Germany when they are not talked about,” he said.

Celik said the debate about Turkey, turned into a campaign after racist parties entered the discussion, adding that Merkel and Martin Schulz, who leads Germany’s main opposition Social Democratic Party, had lost votes when compared to previous polls.

On the question whether Germany’s negative statements towards Turkey will end after the German general election on Sept. 24., Celik said that there will be “a certain softening”.

Celik said that neither Germany nor Turkey benefit from the negative news German media is producing against Turkey.

He added that the European Parliament’s involvement was the reason why the Customs Union became part of politics.

Strained ties

Ties between Ankara and Berlin have been strained in recent months as Turkish leaders slammed Germany, accusing it of turning a blind eye to the activities of outlawed groups and terrorist organizations hostile to Turkey.

Ankara has also criticized Berlin for failing to demonstrate strong solidarity with the Turkish people in the wake of the defeated coup in July 2016, that left 250 people martyred and some 2,200 injured.

The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), which organized the foiled coup bid, has a large network in Germany, with dozens of private schools, businesses and media organizations.

Since the coup attempt, nearly 4,000 FETO suspects have come to Germany from Turkey and other countries, according to local media reports.

Apart from FETO, the terrorist PKK group is also active in the country, and carries out significant propaganda, recruitment and funding activities.

The group has nearly 14,000 followers among the Kurdish immigrant population in Germany, according to the BfV domestic intelligence agency.

Speaking about the failure of the Cyprus reunification talks held last month, Celik said that the Greek Cypriot side had sabotaged the process.

Celik said that in the next period the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Turkey will consult and decide on how to proceed.

The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turks, and Ankara’s intervention as a guarantor power.