Angela Merkel calls for freedom of opinion

Visit to Turkey Angela Merkel calls for freedom of opinion

At a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Chancellor Angela Merkel has underscored the important role played by the Opposition in a democracy. With a view to the planned referendum in Turkey, Angela Merkel said that everything must be done to preserve the separation of powers and freedom of opinion.

Chancellor Angela Merkel during a working lunch with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

It is the first time the Chancellor has visited Turkey since the attempted military coup in July 2016

Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

"We have had intensive and detailed talks that covered bilateral and international issues," said Chancellor Angela Merkel following her meeting with Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in Ankara.

Common fight against terrorism

Angela Merkel pointed out that this was her first visit to Turkey since the attempted coup last year. She said that she agreed with President Erdoğan that it is important to fight terrorism and whoever was behind the coup. "I pointed out that care must always be taken to prove the guilt of every individual," stressed the Chancellor.

Protecting freedom of opinion

In conjunction with the coup, said the Chancellor, we saw how the Turkish people fought for democracy and the rules of democracy. And that is precisely why, in this crucial phase, it is important to respect freedom of opinion. In this context, she continued, the issue of press freedom had been discussed in great detail. She had pointed out how important it is for German journalists working in Turkey to receive the necessary accreditation.

Other important focuses of their talks included bilateral economic relations and the question of the fight against "Islamist terrorism, against every form of terrorism, including the PKK (the Kurdistan Workers’ Party)". Turkey has suffered a great deal in this context, but Germany too has been hit by international terrorism. The two countries intend to cooperate more closely to combat terrorism, reported Angela Merkel.

Turkey doing an "exceptional" job with refugees

With a view to the refugee situation "I expressed my opinion that Turkey is doing an exceptional job, every day, and also in terms of integrating refugees," said Angela Merkel. The agreement between the EU and Turkey has already achieved quite a lot, even if more work lies ahead.

In the Syrian conflict it is important to continue political talks, especially at United Nations level, said the Chancellor.

Commenting on the requests for asylum lodged by Turkish soldiers serving with NATO, Angela Merkel said that the requests would be considered by independent courts.