Under the guidance of the Executive Board and its President Dr Hande Özsan Bozatli, AER has gathered representatives from various interregional organisations and institutions to safeguard the constructive dialogue with Turkey in this fragile political time. With active Turkish members and a President herself from Istanbul, AER is in a unique position to open doors and arrange exclusive meetings with leading government and opposition officials.
The backdrop of this initiative is AER’s strong belief in true multi-level governance which requires a dialogue involving all relevant levels. In meetings with the AER President, the Turkish EU minister and the EU representative in Turkey, both have encouraged such a delegation to come. The visit has been organised in cooperation and with the approval of the Turkish government. They indeed see all initiatives be it European, national, regional or local, as a positive step in maintaining a constructive dialogue. AER has led similar delegations in the past, to Tunisia or Ukraine with positive outcome.
The aim of this visit is to support and complement national and international diplomacy and of course not to substitute itself in any way. The current policy of the Turkish government has had an impact on AER Turkish members as several members have been fired from their positions following the attempted coup. Through this delegation, AER shows its concern to Turkish regional members and reminds the national government on the importance of multi-level governance. The action also falls well within the framework of AER’s 2016 theme « revitalising democracy »; such a political ambition to promote democracy must be an everyday fight and when democracy seems to be questioned in a European country AER shall act.
Assembly of European Regions:
Dr Hande Özsan Bozatli, AER President
Mr Jean-Luc Vanraes, President of the AER economy and regional development committee and Chair of the Committee of the Regions’ working group on Turkey
Mr Mihai Ritivoiu, Vice President of the AER social policy and public health committee, in charge of social inclusion
Mr Mathieu Mori, AER Secretary General
Mr Miltiadis Kyrkos, MEP, Vice-chair of the delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee
AER partner organisations:
Mr Martin Guillermo-Ramirez, Secretary General of the Association of European Border Regions
Ms Charlotte Brandsma, Senior Program Officer on Mediterranean policy, The German Marshall Fund of the United States
On Monday 19/09:
- Ministry for EU affairs, Mr Engin Soysal, undersecretary for EU affairs
- Metropolitan Municipality of Ankara, Mr İbrahim Melih Gökçek, Mayor of Ankara
On Tuesday 20/09:
- AKP Party, Mr Mehdi Eker, Vice President for international affairs
- Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Mr Akif Hamzacebi, Deputy Chairman of the Assembly
- Republican People’s Party (CHP), Mr Kamil Okyay Sindir, Secretary General and MP for Izmir & Ms Selin Sayek Böke, Deputy Chair for Economic Policy