German FM holds meetings with CHP, HDP, İYİ Party delegations

During her official visit to Turkey, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has met with main opposition CHP, pro-Kurdish HDP, and opposition right-wing İYİ Party politicians.

This photo shows HDP delegation members (L) in a meeting with German FM Baerbock.

Duvar English - Reuters

The delegations of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), and opposition right-wing İYİ (Good) Party on July 30 separately met with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who is on an official visit to Turkey.

Afterwards, the CHP released a statement with regards to the meeting, saying: “Our evaluations regarding the upcoming period in which Turkey is heading towards elections were conveyed to the Minister. The views of the CHP and the six opposition parties were shared with the Minister. In addition, we exchanged views on foreign policy and security issues regarding the developments in Europe and in our region.”

This photo shows CHP delegation members (L) in a meeting with German FM Baerbock.

In another meeting on the same day, Bearbock met with the HDP’s delegation which was led by its co-chair Mithat Sancar.

During the meeting, which lasted approximately 35 minutes, views were exchanged on the possibility of a Turkish military operation against northeast Syria, the closure case against the HDP, the Kobane Case, and the imprisoned politicians.

The Kobane trial is the largest in a series of trials targeting HDP politicians. Some 108 individuals are on trial over protests against ISIS attacks on the Syrian town of Kobane, near the Turkish border in 2014. 

Separately, during the meeting with the İYİ Party delegation, both the German minister and party officials agreed to continue similar bilateral contacts at the parliamentary level in the future.

This photo shows İYİ Party delegation members (L) in a meeting with Baerbock.

Baerbock’s visit to opposition parties' delegations came after her tense news conference together with Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on July 29.

The news conference started off with calm remarks by the two ministers but became increasingly testy as they criticised each other's policies.

Çavuşoğlu said Germany had lost its impartiality in mediating between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus, adding that it should listen to all sides without prejudice.

"Third countries, including Germany, should not be a tool to provocation and propaganda especially by Greece and the Greek Cypriot side," he said during the news conference in Istanbul on July 29. 

Relations between Athens and Ankara are strained over a raft of issues ranging from overflights to competing claims for offshore waters.

Cyprus, which was partitioned in 1974 when Turkey invaded its northern third in response to a brief Greek-inspired coup, is a main point of division.

Germany's Annalena Baerbock said issues cannot be solved in the eastern Mediterranean by increasing tensions.

Baerbock later turned attention to philanthropist Osman Kavala and called on Turkey to implement rulings by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

“It is my responsibility as foreign minister to respect and defend rulings of the ECHR, without exception and at all times," she said, adding that Kavala should be freed.

The ECHR said this month that Turkey had not implemented the 2019 ruling over Kavala, as part of infringement proceedings, which could see Ankara suspended from the Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog.

Çavuşoğlu responded by saying Greece, Norway and Germany had also not implemented other rulings by the ECHR and accused Germany of funding Kavala. Kavala was sentenced to life in prison without parole in April on charges of financing 2013 nationwide "Gezi" protests in what rights groups say was a political trial.

"Why do you constantly bring up Osman Kavala? Because you are using Osman Kavala against Turkey. We know how much he was funded during the Gezi events," Çavuşoğlu said.

The ECHR ruled in 2019 that Kavala's detention aimed to silence him and evidence was not enough to support the charges against him.

Çavuşoğlu also criticised Berlin for "embracing" Kurdish militants. In response, Baerbock said Germany, as well as the European Union, treats the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a decades-long insurgency against Turkey, as a terrorist organisation.