Jürgen Hardt: The visit is indeed the chance for a turnaround in German-Turkish relations
Source: CDU, CSU,
Thank you. – Madam President! Ladies and gentlemen, The course of the debate, as well as the expressions of approval for the borders of the groups show that we, as Democrats already have a clear compass, a clear attitude to the current Situation in Turkey. That is, I think, is a good thing.
I think it’s good that Erdogan comes to Germany. The honor of a state visit means, the honor of the German people to the Turkish people – in the first place, I understand – and it is one of the practices that we will be alternating this honor. That’s why I take no offense at the Form of the visit. The opportunities, critical issues, we want to appeal to Turkey and must not be affected by the Form of the visit, and we nonetheless have many opportunities to present these things, which I think is important. This has to do with the shape of the visit.
(Applause from members of the CDU / CSU)
I believe that this visit is indeed the opportunity for a turnaround in German-Turkish relations and that the key to this is clearly President Erdogan. Turkey needs to look back on its voluntarily signed European values of independence of justice, pluralism, individual freedom, freedom of the media. These are the Statutes of the Council of Europe. Turkey has been a member since the first year of the founding of the Council of Europe. So there is a very simple basis on which Turkish politics can return.
In recent years, in Erdogan speeches in Turkey, we have heard time and again that the European Union does not really want Turkey, and that is why the Turks have to rely on Erdogan and the AKP if they can to go about their future. This is a legend that Erdogan may also be telling because someone who rules as he does is ultimately the one who has to fear the most that the European Union may someday come closer to Turkey. That would mean: Copenhagen criteria, independence of the courts, pluralism, democracy, freedom of expression. Anyone who governs like President Erdogan must fear that under these conditions the prosecutor may one day knock on his door and see what is there. That is why I believe that the legend that he tells us that Europe does not want Turkey, is in fact his program, so that he himself is not too closely confronted with European values.
That is why I am against the fact that, as a European Union, we are pulling up the drawbridge and canceling accession negotiations. The current status is: accession negotiations are frozen. But all Turks should know: we will not break the bridges on our side, our hand will be stretched out for a free and democratic Turkey.
(Applause from members of the SPD – Alexander Graf Lambsdorff [FDP]: Is the CDU now in favor of joining?)
I would like to say something about President Erdogan's agenda on Saturday in Cologne. I would think it wrong if we forbade such an appearance on our part; because then we would do exactly what we accuse Erdogan of doing in his own country. Freedom of expression and the right to speak freely are a great asset to us. That's why it's okay that he speaks there. However, I would like to remind the Turks and Turks present on this visit that in Germany we are presenting such tolerance and freedom and openness in such matters as the one they may admire, perhaps in the last elections have chosen to deprive his fellow citizens in his own country, and that this is an open contradiction. As a supporter of Erdogan, who lives here in Germany, I have to ask myself why I value and claim these freedoms in Germany, but I do not advocate that they also come into effect in Turkey. I think we should talk about this topic in connection with the appearance of Erdogan in the Cologne Mosque on Saturday.
(Applause from Members of the SPD and the Deputy Governor Cem Özdemir [Alliance 90 / The Greens])
I would also like Erdogan to release the political prisoners.
(Applause from members of the SPD)
I am thinking specifically of the German-Turkish journalists who are in custody in Turkey. I call them "political prisoners" because, according to our constitutional standards, they are not legally imprisoned on the basis of judicial decisions or on presentation of appropriate charges, but in some cases for many months without judicial decision by an independent judiciary. The state, the executive, here claims a right that it is not entitled to. That is why I call for the release of these political prisoners.
Thank you very much.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and the SPD, as well as from members of the LEFT and Alliance 90 / THE GREENS)
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is a translation. Please forgive us the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.