A tense exchange between the Turkish and German foreign ministers in front of the press

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu exchanged tense words with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbach before the media in Istanbul on Friday. He accused him of being influenced by Greece’s “propaganda” in its disputes with Turkey, AFP and DPA agencies reported.

Annalena Berbach, who arrived in Istanbul after a visit to Greece, asked her hosts to release Turkish dissident Osman Kavala, although Ankara has responded aggressively in the past to similar demands from Western politicians.

“The decision of the European Court of Human Rights regarding Osman Kavala must be applied,” pointed out Annalena Baerbach, 41 and a member of the Green Party, Germany’s first female foreign minister since December last year.

His statement prompted a strong response from Çavuşoğlu at a joint press conference with him. “Why does Germany encourage all countries to exclude Turkey from the Council of Europe?”, the Turkish minister asked, and then, according to Ankara, Baerbach listed the names of European countries that did not respect the decisions of the European Court of Justice. They refer to Cavusoglu “Greece, France, Norway, Germany”.

“Why don’t you mention Greece, but only Turkey? Why do you mention Kaval? Because you used him?” The Turkish Foreign Minister continued.

Jailed and sentenced to life in prison in Turkey, the dissident has been accused of trying to destabilize Turkey by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime since 2013, when he supported anti-government protests known as the Gezi movement. He is also accused of trying to “overthrow the government” during the 2016 coup attempt.

The German diplomatic chief has already irked his Turkish hosts after announcing in Athens on Friday that Turkey must respect Greece’s sovereignty over islands in the Aegean Sea.

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In response, the Turkish minister told reporters that “third countries, including Germany, should not be involved in the provocations and propaganda of Greece and Cyprus in particular.”

Mevlut Cavusoglu noted that Germany has practiced “honest mediation” in the past and has shown a balanced approach, but recently it has become more partisan, according to sources cited by Agerpres.

The German foreign minister warned Ankara against a “premature strike” by Turkey in northern Syria, while acknowledging that Turkey has been dealing with terror attacks by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for years.

Author: Liviu Kojan

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