Jailed MPs row clouds German, Turkish meeting

Jailed MPs row clouds German, Turkish meeting

BERLIN - Hürriyet Daily News
Jailed MPs row clouds German, Turkish meeting

The meeting between Turkish and German delegations sours after Thierse interrupts Ambassador Karslıoğlu, saying the ambassador could not tell him what to talk about. AA photo

A meeting between a Turkish parliamentary delegation and Wolfgang Thierse, the deputy speaker of Germany’s Bundestag, turned bitter when the focus of the talks shifted from recent neo-Nazi killings to Turkey’s stance toward Christians and Turkish parliamentarians in prison.

A parliamentary team including Deputies Çiğdem Münevver Ökten of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Şafak Pavey of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Tunca Toskay of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Nazmi Gür of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) had been holding talks about the neo-Nazi cell the National Socialist Underground (NSU), believed to have killed 10 people, mostly shopkeepers of Turkish origin, in a case that shocked Germany. The delegation, which was officially invited by the German government, met with Thierse yesterday morning.

When asked what German parties should do to overcome prejudice in Germany toward the Turkish community, Thierse said prejudices exist on both sides. “There are also prejudices toward German society on the part of the ethnic Turkish population. Opinions against Turks and Muslims are consolidated by the images that support these prejudices. Violent scenes coming from the Islamic community especially feed these prejudices,” Thierse said.

After discussing what Germany could do to overcome these prejudices, Thierse also mentioned Turkey’s possible contribution. “It would be beneficial for Germans to hear positive news about Christians from Turkey. Prejudices in the West would diminish if there was equality in terms of religious freedoms in Turkey.”

Afterwards, Thierse brought up the issue of the Turkish parliamentary deputies currently in jail. “As a parliamentarian I would like to say this: There are many detained parliamentarians in Turkey. This is a situation that cannot be understood by a European parliamentarian. I hope that you will do everything you can for your colleagues.”

What you are doing is shameful: Thierse

Jailed MPs row clouds German, Turkish meeting

Wishing to answer Thierse, Turkish ambassador to Germany Hüseyin Avni Karslıoğlu asked to speak. He said that problems between the two countries could always be tackled through dialogue, and that issues such as the detained parliamentarians could always be discussed, but emphasized that the focus of the Turkish delegation was the NSU killings.

Thierse reacted fiercely and interrupted Karslıoğlu, saying the ambassador could not tell him what to talk about. A short conversation in German between Karslıoğlu and Thierse followed, which was not translated into Turkish. As the Turkish ambassador tried to explain what exactly he was trying to say, Thierse got up angrily from the table, saying the conversation was over. He also said to Karslıoğlu: “What you are doing is shameful.”

As some of the Turkish deputies in the delegation did not speak German, they only understood the details of the incident later. They were extremely upset by Thierse’s behavior, but as the meeting had ended it was too late to register a reaction.

In the afternoon the Turkish delegation met with the members of the inquiry commission in the German Parliament investigating the neo-Nazi murders. Recalling that an unpleasant incident had taken
place in the morning, the head of the commission Sebastian Edaty said the incident should not overshadow their talks.

Toskay expresses sadness
Toskay expressed in a separate meeting in Parliament in the afternoon that the Turkish delegation was extremely saddened by the way the meeting had ended with Thierse. He said Thierse could have found better way to express their views.