Westerwelle praises Turkey for Iran mediation

Other News Materials 28 July 2010 16:59 (UTC +04:00)
Visiting German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Wednesday praised the government of Turkey for mediating in the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme.
Westerwelle praises Turkey for Iran mediation

Visiting German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Wednesday praised the government of Turkey for mediating in the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme, DPA reported.

Speaking after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu in Istanbul, Westerwelle noted that Iran wants to hold talks with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in September.

He said he expects the talks to cover all outstanding questions related to the nuclear programme, and not only about the deal Tehran reached with Turkey and Brazil on the storage of uranium in Turkey.

"Talks make no sense when they cover only certain aspects," Westerwelle said. "We welcome the diplomatic efforts of Turkey, but also those of Brazil, in moving Iran towards talks."

Davutoglu, meanwhile, expressed hope that a uranium swap in Turkey would create enough trust for Iran to proceed with the overall nuclear negotiations.

"We are trying to prevent the nuclear armament of Iran," he said.

The two ministers also discussed the ongoing investigation into Israel's raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla ship in May, in which Israeli soldiers killed nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists.

Davutoglu said he expects "solidarity" from the international community, and Germany in particular, in the affair.

He also noted that Turkey accepts Germany's ban on the Internationale Humanitaere Hilfsorganisation (IHH) - an organization run by Turks in Germany - but described the timing of the ban shortly after the flotilla incident as unfortunate.

Although it uses the same acronym as the Turkish non-governmental organization that organized the Gaza aid flotilla, IHH cannot be equated to that group, Davutoglu said. The two organizations share the same roots, having been founded as a single aid organization in 1992 during the war in Bosnia. But they split five years later.

German authorities outlawed the group based in their country in mid-July because it is suspected of funnelling financial donations to Hamas, the radical Palestinian movement that controls the Gaza Strip, "under the cover of humanitarian aid."

Turkey's position on Hamas is that the movement can not simply be disregarded as part of a search for peace in the Middle East.

The controversial question of Turkey joining the European Union was not a focal point of Wednesday's talks. Bilateral projects, such as the opening of a German-Turkish university in Istanbul planned for the autumn, were discussed instead.

Westerwelle arrived for his second visit to Turkey on Tuesday. He is due to hold talks with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan later Wednesday. Westerwelle has said he plans to stress Germany's interest in Turkey further orientating itself towards Europe.