The importance of relations between Switzerland and Turkey discussed in Bern

Media release, 03.11.2016

"Relations with Turkey are extremely important to Switzerland, even more so today than in the past. Dialogue and listening to each other are essential if we are to rise to the challenges of our time". This is what Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter said on 3 November 2016 at a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, at the Lohn Manor near Bern. The talks focused on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, but the two foreign ministers also discussed their countries’ bilateral relations as well as multilateral cooperation. In addition, Mr Burkhalter mentioned Switzerland's actions and potential in the context of Swiss policy of good offices.

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, left, and Swiss Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter speak at the Lohn Residence, near Bern.
Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, left, and Swiss Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter speak at the Lohn Residence, near Bern. ©

Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter noted that the two countries were making tangible progress in several areas of their bilateral relations, particularly on migration, economic relations and the protection of cultural assets. He also stressed the importance in these uncertain times of developing a close political dialogue, especially on issues associated with this summer's coup d’état and the situation in south-eastern Turkey. The talks provided an opportunity to exchange views on issues such as the possible reintroduction of the death penalty, the duration and proportionality of the state of emergency, fundamental freedoms (particularly freedom of expression and freedom of the media), an independent judiciary and cooperation with organisations like the Council of Europe.

Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter offered his counterpart sincere condolences for the victims of the attacks and the attempted coup. However, he also voiced concern at the numerous dismissals and arrests following the attempted coup and reminded his counterpart that Turkey's declaration of a state of emergency does not free the country from its international human rights obligations. Furthermore, the head of the FDFA underscored the validity of national legislation and freedom of expression for Turkish citizens in Switzerland.

In their discussion on regional and international issues, the ministers focused on the Syria conflict, the situations in Iraq and the southern Caucasus and developments in Cyprus. Mr Burkhalter paid tribute to Turkey's tremendous humanitarian effort, having taken in 2.7 million Syrian refugees. "The conflict in Syria is a moral failure of our age and demonstrates the lack of political will for peace," he said. He reiterated Switzerland's determination to continue stepping up its humanitarian aid and defend international humanitarian law. In addition, the two ministers exchanged views on the dramatic situation in Aleppo.


Further information:

Bilateral relations Switzerland-Turkey


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Publisher:

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs