The Interior Minister’s visit to Turkey comes at a time of turbulent times. Ankara recently attacked targets in Syria and Iraq. With her counterpart Soylu, Faeser meets one of the strictest advocates of the procedure.
A few days after Turkish airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) met her Turkish colleague Süleyman Soylu in Ankara. Since Sunday, Turkey has been attacking Kurdish militia positions, which it blames for the November 13 attack in Istanbul. Even if the trip was planned before the recent events, it is likely to be largely marked by them.
Why is Faeser visiting Turkey now?
Faeser is traveling to Turkey for her inaugural visit – it was planned before the attacks by the Turkish armed forces and will not take place on the occasion of this. She meets her Turkish colleague Soylu in Ankara. He is considered a nationalist hardliner in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s cabinet and is known for his strong nationalist sentiment and sharp criticism of the West.
What will the talks with Soylu be about?
One of the topics is the fight against terrorism, the ministry said in advance – and how Berlin and Ankara can work together on this. Turkey repeatedly accuses Germany of being too lax about the banned Kurdish workers’ party PKK, which is also considered a terrorist organization in Germany. Ankara blames the PKK and the Kurdish militia YPG for the attack in Istanbul on November 13 – both deny it.
The issue of migration should also be addressed. The number of asylum seekers coming to Germany had recently increased again. Among them are people who have previously stayed in Turkey.
Why is Turkey important when it comes to migration?
Around 3.7 million refugees from Syria are currently living in Turkey. Germany and the EU also depend on Ankara as a partner because of the 2016 refugee agreement. The agreement with the EU provides, among other things, that refugees and migrants who come illegally to the Greek islands via Turkey can be sent back.
The government and opposition in Turkey have adopted a much more anti-refugee tone in recent months. For example, foreigners are prohibited from registering in certain areas and thus officially living there. Turkey also wants to relocate one million refugees to Syria on a voluntary basis. Before the elections planned for June, the issue of migration is likely to play an important role.
Faeser, who is also Minister of Sport, wants to travel to Qatar for the first game of the German national soccer team after her trip to Turkey. However, the travel plans could still change if something speaks against it at short notice, according to a spokeswoman.