Protestors clash with Turkish riot policemen on May 31, 2013 during a protest against the demolition of the Taksim Gezi Park in Istanbul.
The German envoy to Turkey, who was summoned by Ankara amid tensions between the two countries over Turkish police™s heavy crackdown on anti-government protesters, has held talks with the Turkish Foreign Ministry undersecretary.
German Ambassador Eberhard Pohl and Turkish Foreign Ministry undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu had a one-and-a-half hour meeting In Ankara on Saturday over German Chancellor Angela Merkel™s remarks about Turkey™s response to anti-government demonstrations.
They also talked about Berlin’s intention to halt Turkey’s accession process to the EU ahead of EU’s critical meeting slated for June 24 in Brussels, when members of the bloc will decide whether to delay Turkey’s accession talks.
According to Anatolia News Agency, Pohl was summoned on Friday but the meeting was postponed to Saturday because he was out of the Turkish capital.
The move came only a day after Germany summoned Turkish Ambassador Huseyin Avni Karslioglu after Turkey’s EU Minister Egemen Bagis accused Merkel of using unrest in Turkey for domestic political gains ahead of the September elections.
œI hope she corrects the mistake she has made by Monday… or this will lead to reactions,” Bagis said on Thursday.
On Monday, Merkel, who is an opponent of Turkey™s EU accession, said she was œshocked” by Ankara’s crackdown on anti-government protests.
“What is happening in Turkey at the moment does not meet with our ideas of freedom of assembly, (or) freedom of expression. I am in any case shocked,” she said.
Also on Saturday, thousands of people participated in a protest in the German city of Cologne in solidarity with the Turkish protesters.
“Freedom, not fear” and “We do not want a fundamentalist state in Turkey” read the banners of the protesters who also called on Erdogan to resign.
The unrest began on May 31 after police broke up a sit-in held at Istanbul’s Taksim Square to protest against the proposal to demolish Gezi Park.
The protesters say Gezi Park, which is a traditional gathering point for rallies and demonstrations as well as a popular tourist destination, is one of Istanbul’s last green public spaces.
Five people, including a police officer, have died in the clashes and more than 5,000 protesters and 600 police officers have been injured.