Şule Gürel 13.11.2015
(13 NOVEMBER 2015)

Honorable Chairman of the Advisory Board, Ambassador Scharioth,
Distinguished General Manager of Stiftung Marcator, Mr Shwarz,
Dear Manager of Deutche Turkische Jugend Brucke Mrs Dufft,
Distinguished members of the Advisory Board,

I am pleased to attend the second meeting of the Advisory Board, which has eminent members from public institutions, civil society, academics, businessmen association, and media. I want to greet you all and express my conviction that such a broad based committee is best suited to come up with fresh ideas and give advice to Deutche Turkische Jugend Brucke to reach its target.

As I said yesterday, relations between Turkey and Germany are exceptional. This is so, not because of the diplomatic relations based on strategic dialogue at the state level. It is exceptional due to its strong human dimension. 3 million people of Turkish origin living in Germany, has connected our countries with the strongest bond ever, and nearly 5 million German tourists visit Turkey every year. This creates an exceptional human interaction. But there is still work to be done.

We know that when people are exposed to different cultures while they are young, this influences their mindset, promotes cultural sensitivity and tolerance. Student and youth exchanges in all spheres of life contribute to fostering mutual understanding, overcoming prejudices and misconceptions. Youth exchanges also help young people broaden their horizon, develop their entrepreneurial spirit and contribute to reduce youth unemployment, which is an increasing problem for all of us. Overall, exchanges help us build stronger relations between our countries.

As the future decision makers and entrepreneurs, young generations will shape the future of Turkish-German relations and probably the future of Turkish-EU relations. Therefore, as Mr Swoboda has rightly put it yesterday, we should do the groundwork to establish strong interpersonal relations, through youth exchange programs.

We support and appreciate all civil society initiated exchange programs and youth bridges. We have always stated our wish to have a comprehensive youth exchange program at the state level, similar to the one that was established with France and Poland.

We can better reach our goals when student and youth exchange programs are broad based and include young people from all segments of our societies. It is equally important to develop projects on the basis of win-win principle and make exchanges mutually beneficial to both sides.

As I attend this meeting for the first time, I look forward to hearing the presentation on the past exchanges. I stand ready to contribute to the discussion on the strategy for the next year. I have a few ideas, but I want to share these after the presentations in the course of the meeting.

I wish the committee a fruitful meeting.

Thank you.


Ayşegül Gökçen Karaarslan Başkonsolos
Pazartesi - Cuma

09.00 - 16.00

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