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Deiss holds talks with Cem

Switzerland's foreign minister, Joseph Deiss (pictured), is in Ankara holding talks with his Turkish counterpart, Ismail Cem. Deiss is in Turkey for a three-day visit.

This content was published on February 20, 2000 - 13:17

Switzerland's foreign minister, Joseph Deiss (pictured), is in Ankara holding talks with his Turkish counterpart, Ismail Cem. Deiss is in Turkey for a three-day visit.

The trip is intended to improve relations between the two countries, which have been strained since a Kurdish demonstrator was shot and killed outside the Turkish embassy in Berne in June 1993.

It is the first official visit to Turkey by a Swiss foreign minister since 1991, and comes after an invitation issued by the Turkish foreign minister, Ismail Cem. Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Turkey are expected to be at the heart of talks between the two men and they will also discuss regional and international issues.

During the trip, Deiss will hold talks with Turkey's president, Suleyman Demirel, and the prime minister, Bulent Ecevit. He is expected to raise the subject of human rights and the need for legislative and institutional reform in Turkey, a country which has not abolished the death penalty. Deiss is also scheduled to meet the Justice minister, Hikmet Sami.

Deiss is not only on a diplomatic mission. On Tuesday, he is expected to travel to Istanbul to meet representatives of Turkey's business and industrial communities. He will also visit Swiss companies active in Turkey.

Jacques Besson, from Switzerland's economics ministry says "Turkey is one of the emerging countries whose economies are of increasing importance for Swiss exports."

After his trip to Turkey, Deiss will spend nine days visiting countries in the Middle East. He is due to hold talks in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, which are likey to focus on the stalled Middle East peace process.

During his trip to Egypt, Deiss will attend a memorial service for those killed in the 1996 Luxor massacre.

He is due to return to Switzerland on March 4.

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