Westerwelle: Turkey Does Not Stand Alone
On October 13 Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle met his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoğlu, in Istanbul. His aim was to demonstrate solidarity and urge the need for prudence.
Enlarge image Foreign Minister Westerwelle with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Lakhdar Brahimi, UN and Arab League Joint Special Representative for Syria (© picture alliance / dpa) Over the past few days tensions on the Turkish-Syrian border have repeatedly escalated. On October 3 civilians in a Turkish village near the border were killed by Syrian shellfire, which Turkey then returned. On October 11 the Turkish airforce intercepted a Syrian passenger plane suspected of having weapons on board and forced it to land in Ankara. Subsequently, a number of other incidents occurred. Foreign Minister Westerwelle was in Istanbul for intensive discussions with his counterpart Davutoğlu on the tense situation.
Turkey does not stand alone
“In the current critical situation Turkey does not stand alone,” Westerwelle assured Davutoğlu. It could count on the solidarity of Germany and its other partners. Commenting on the Syrian plane’s forced landing, he noted that Turkey had a right to inspect aircraft cargoes. Under international law, Turkey was not compelled to “let goods that could serve a military purpose be transported to Syria through its airspace.”
Germany was also willing, he added, to assist Turkey in coping with the influx of refugees from Syria. Germany was already one of the biggest donors providing aid for Syrian refugees in Jordan, for instance. According to Turkish estimates, over 80,000 Syrian refugees have found shelter in Turkey.
Adhering to a prudent course
Enlarge image Meeting with Secretary-General of the Arab League (© picture alliance / dpa) The German Foreign Minister commended the prudent way in which Turkey had responded to the recent clashes along its border with Syria. “I encourage Turkey to adhere to this (…) course,” Westerwelle continued. Working with its international partners, Germany is seeking to prevent the conflict in Syria triggering a regional conflagration. Westerwelle once again criticized the handful of countries responsible for “the deadlock” in the United Nations Security Council.
Westerwelle’s visit to Istanbul also gave him an opportunity to deliberate with other prominent figures involved in efforts to resolve the Syrian conflict. He had meetings with Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN and Arab League Joint Special Representative for Syria, as well as Arab League Secretary General Nabil al Arabi.