Germany to fulfill EU promises as Turkey continues reforms, FM says

‘Whatever is written in the coalition government contract is valid. Turkey’s integration into the EU is in Germany’s interest,’ says German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. ‘This is, however, an open-ended process, not an automatic one. I am sure the Turkish government will keep up with reforms’Germany will stick to the commitments made to Turkey for membership in the European Union and is sure, in return, the Turkish government will move ahead with the reform process required for full membership, said the German foreign minister on Thursday.

“This is clear for Germans that we keep the promises we make. Pacta sund servanda. That’s my view,” Guido Westerwelle told a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoğlu, in Ankara.

His visit to Turkey marked the first trip by a German foreign minister since the September 2009 elections in Germany where Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and Westerwelle’s Free Democratic Party formed a coalition government.

“Whatever is written in the coalition government contract is valid. Turkey’s integration into the EU is in Germany’s interest,” said Westerwelle. “This is, however, an open-ended process, not an automatic one. I am sure the Turkish government will keep up with the reforms,” he stressed.

The foreign minister repeated the word “pacta sund servanda” several times in his address and said a unilateral violation on the promises made was out of the question.

“I am behind my words,” said Westerwelle, while noting he personally fought hard at the December summit of the EU in Brussels for the opening of the environment chapter in Turkish-EU negotiations.

He, however, gave a humorous response to a question about Merkel’s opposition to Turkey’s EU bid and her party’s proposed privileged partnership for Turkey. “I am speaking here not as a tourist in shorts but as a member of the coalition government,” which led to smiles in the press room.

Notes from key visit

  • In his address, German FM Westerwelle welcomed the Turkish government’s initiative to resolve the Kurdish problem as a “historic step” and said, “We want to encourage Turkey to go on with it.” The minister vowed Turkey and Germany would work together to combat terrorism.
  • Westerwelle praised Turkey’s strategic importance, saying the country was playing a “key role” in the resolution of international disputes. Turkish FM Davutoğlu said Turkey wants the Turkish-German University project to realize as soon as possible. The university planned to be established in Istanbul.
  • FM Davutoğlu, who speaks German, listened to the visiting FM’s remarks without headphones for simultaneous translation. During their meeting, the Turkish minister sometimes bypassed Turkish diplomats in the room and spoke in German with Westerwelle.
  • One witness said the German FM, while discussing Turkey’s EU bid during his personal meeting with the Turkish FM, asked what “pacta sund servanda” means in Turkish. Later he used the Turkish word “Ahde vefa” while referring to the term in his talks with Davutoğlu.
  • During their talks, the two foreign ministers addressed one another with their first names, a sign of personal friendship.
  • In the morning, Westerwelle addressed Turkey’s ambassadors at the second conference in Ankara, and delivered important messages. He said the vision created by Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as a secular, modern and self-confident state was still influential.
  • Westerwelle told Turkish ambassadors the freedom of opinion, press and religion constitutes the basic legs of European values. He also noted he has great interest in following the debates in Turkey about the democratic initiatives. Westerwelle, however, emphasized, “Of course, violence and extremism can no way be accepted as political instruments,” referring to the disbanded Democratic Society Party, or DTP, which was closed by the Constitutional Court for links with terrorism.

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