Specially close links

German-Turkish relations Specially close links

"Turkey is, and will remain, an important partner," says federal government spokesperson Steffen Seibert. Close cooperation with Turkey and the Turkish authorities, based on mutual trust, is essential in the refugee context, in the fight against IS terrorism and in efforts to resolve the conflict in Syria.

A Turkish flag

Germany and Turkey are linked by more than only traditional bilateral relations, says Steffen Seibert

Photo: picture alliance / ZB

"Relations between German and Turkey are far more than merely traditional bilateral relations, such as Germany maintains with many other countries," said government spokesperson Steffen Seibert.

Germany is home to over three million people with Turkish roots. They visit Turkey regularly, partly because they still have family there. That makes German-Turkish relations "very special", said Steffen Seibert at the government press conference on Wednesday.

Mutual interests

"Our joint action on refugees, as laid out in the Turkey-EU Agreement, is based on our mutual interests," declared Steffen Seibert. Both sides, the EU and Turkey, aim to end illegality and criminal human trafficking across the Aegean Sea. "And thus to end the loss of many lives". Since the agreement came into force this has been largely achieved.

Turkey has taken in the largest number of Syrian refugees by a long way, stressed Steffen Seibert. It has a legitimate interest that Europe share the burden. This is why the EU is providing billions of euros for refugee assistance and refugee projects in Turkey. "Neither Germany not Europe has a reason to call into question this eminently sensible agreement."

Joint action in the fight against IS terrorism

Violent, terrorist Islamism is a danger, continued the government spokesperson. It threatens Turkey, Germany and the EU, and the threat continues, he declared. "It is a threat that is being countered with all available means." And that is only possible with intensive international cooperation.

"Turkey is, and will remain, an important partner." Many radicalised young people from Germany and other European countries travel to Syria and Iraq via Turkey. "Close cooperation based on trust with Turkey and the Turkish authorities is still vital in this area."

He pointed out that Turkey itself has repeatedly been a victim of Islamist terrorist attacks. It is a partner in the fight against the IS alongside many other states who are standing up to this murderous ideology. Germany takes this into account, for instance, by stationing German troops at the İncirlik airbase in southern Turkey as part of the anti-IS coalition.

Turkey and Israel seek to improve relations

It has been common knowledge for a long time that the Turkish government maintains relations to Hamas. "We, in the German government, have always pointed to the problems this entails."

It is these relations between Turkey and Hamas in particular that have so strained relations between Turkey and Israel. So the German government welcomes recent moves to improve relations between the two states.

Turkey is a partner in resolving the Syrian conflict

Turkey lies on the edge of one of the most politically explosive and turbulent regions of the world, said Steffen Seibert. The German government is still interested in identifying a political solution to the Syrian conflict. But this will only be possible if the solution has the support of all partners in the region. "Turkey is one such partner," he stressed.