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Türkiye’s President Erdogan, German counterpart Steinmeier meet in Ankara for talks

24 April 2024 22:28 (UTC+04:00)
Türkiye’s President Erdogan, German counterpart Steinmeier meet in Ankara for talks

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday expressed hope Ankara and Berlin would not encounter obstacles and focus on discussing joint production projects, particularly in the defense sector, Azernews reports, citing Anadolu Agency.

"We hope that Türkiye and Germany will begin to discuss joint production ventures rather than barriers, particularly in defense," Erdogan told a joint press conference with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is on an official visit, in Ankara.

"(With Germany) We desire to completely remove the restrictions we face in the defense industry," he added.​​​​​​​

Trade between Ankara Berlin

He said Türkiye aims to expand bilateral trade volume with Germany, which has surpassed $50 billion, to $60 billion in a balanced manner.

Erdogan said as NATO allies, Ankara and Berlin have multi-faceted relations in various fields, from security to economy, and culture to science.

“I attach special importance to increasing mutual investments. We are also keen to advance our cooperation in the defense industry in a manner consistent with our bilateral relations and the spirit of alliance," he added.

He said bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector is also developing, adding: “The strongest common ground and the backbone of our ties are strong human connections. The number of people we bid farewell to from Sirkeci Station 63 years ago has reached 3.5 million. Turkish “guest workers” boarded trains for Germany from the Istanbul station in 1961.

President Erdogan expressed his belief that the Turkish-German friendship will continue to grow stronger and develop.

He said over the past six decades, the Turkish community has transitioned from being migrants to assuming critical roles in Germany's social, economic, cultural, and academic life.

The Turkish leader said he discussed with the German head of state issues concerning the integration of the Turkish community in Germany, and mentioned the new German citizenship law as a welcome step in this regard.

Erdogan expressed his pleasure in hosting Steinmeier and his delegation in Ankara, saying the visit was valuable as it was his first as president, and coincided with the 100th anniversary of the Türkiye-Germany Friendship Treaty.

Erdogan also expressed his gratitude to Germany and its people for their solidarity during the Feb. 6, 2023 twin earthquakes in southern Türkiye.

Fight against terrorism

The president said Ankara expects "further support and solidarity from German authorities in the fight against terrorism."

He expressed growing concerns about the rise of xenophobic, Islamophobic, far-right, and racist organizations in Germany, along with Europe.

“Unfortunately, after 31 years since the Solingen arson attack, we lost two children and four siblings in a similar attack. I have shared our expectations for the full investigation and punishment of those responsible for the heinous incident that occurred on March 25,” he added.

Three decades ago, a far-right arson attack in Solingen killed five members of a Turkish immigrant family, in one of the most severe instances of racist violence in modern Germany.

This March, four members of a Turkish-Bulgarian family were killed in a fire, and over a dozen others were injured, some seriously, in the same city.

Germany should see ‘horrific scene’ in Gaza

Erdogan said they discussed steps to renew Türkiye-EU customs union and visa liberalization, besides other regional and global developments.

The Turkish leader also addressed the ongoing conflict in Gaza, where Israel has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, and said Ankara will continue to intensify its efforts to achieve a cease-fire in the enclave, and ensure that uninterrupted and adequate humanitarian aid reaches the Palestinian people.

Erdogan said Türkiye has shown “a resolute, conscientious, and courageous stance” on Gaza from the beginning.

“On this occasion, I reiterated our call for an end to the unprecedented oppression that has been ongoing in Gaza for 200 days.

“It is evident to everyone that as long as Israel's attacks continue, threats to both regional and global peace escalate. The recent escalation of tensions between Iran and Israel is the latest and most striking example of this,” he said.

“We are all well aware that the suffering of the innocent, condemned to death, hunger, and destitution, will not be forgotten for generations to come,” he continued. “The efforts of Israeli administration to hide its atrocities and massacres committed in Gaza should not be allowed."

He said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, just to prolong his political career, is jeopardizing security of not only his own citizens but the entire region.

Türkiye is no longer sustaining intensive trade relations with Israel, and that chapter is closed, he stressed.

Saying that Israel killed women and children in Gaza, Erdogan urged Germany to see the "horrific scene" in the blockaded enclave.

Steinmeier, for his part, stressed Germany does not have as intense, friendly and familial relations with any other country in the world as it does with Türkiye.

He emphasized that the two countries were indispensable to each other and needed each other.

On the Palestine issue, he said: "Without a political perspective for Palestinians, security cannot be ensured for Israel either. This perspective can only be a two-state solution."

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