German FM to visit Turkey over Syria op
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his German counterpart Heiko Maas will meet on Oct. 26 in the capital Ankara and discuss bilateral relations and cooperation areas between the two countries, a written statement from Turkey’s Foreign Ministry read.
The ministers will also discuss issues regarding Turkey’s European Union accession process within the context of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2020, the statement added.
Çavuşoğlu and Maas are also expected to discuss the latest developments in Syria.
Speaking at the German parliament on Oct. 25, Maas criticized Turkey’s “Operation Peace Spring” into northeastern Syria yet put emphasis on the importance of an established dialogue between Ankara and Berlin.
“It’s always better to talk to each other instead of talking about each other, therefore I will be traveling to Ankara on Saturday [Oct. 26],” he said.
Responding to remarks by Maas, Çavuşoğlu said on his Twitter account: “Dear Heiko Maas, I’m glad you will visit Turkey. You are always welcome. But not waging your finger. Whoever tried to give lessons to Turkey should take the necessary answer.”
Speaking to reporters in Baku, the foreign minister also said Maas wanted to discuss the recent developments. “We also know that Merkel is more constructive about the safe zone than others. But the German foreign minister’s comments came after the operation started. In my telephone conversation with him, I made it clear that we condemned them. Because a NATO ally has to choose the side of Turkey not the terrorists, Çavuşoğlu said.
The Social Democrat politician expressed concerns over the protection of the civilian population in northeastern Syria, stability in the region and the future of United Nations-led talks for a political solution to end Syria’s devastating eight-year civil war.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative-left coalition government had acknowledged Ankara’s security concerns in the region but criticized Turkey’s anti-terror operation in northwestern Syria, claiming that it might lead to a “humanitarian crisis, deepen instability” in the region.
Opposition parties and anti-Turkey lobby organizations had sharply criticized the government for not taking a harsher stance against Ankara and not imposing economic sanctions.
Meanwhile, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Merkel’s preferred successor, has suggested that Turkey’s safe zone plan should be monitored by an international authority such as the United Nations.