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A heavy test for friendship

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A regular table in Cologne, a special round. There is a small globe on table with Stadtwappen of Cologne and Istanbul. The men and women at table are Germans and native Turks, y work toger for city partnership between Turkish metropolis Istanbul and cadral city on Rhine.

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In March 1997, mayor of Istanbul, today's head of state, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his Cologne colleague Norbert Burger, signed partnership agreement between two cities. Seven months later Walter Kluth and or Cologne founded a town partnership. They fill partnership with life, y organize trips, exhibitions, concerts, for more than 20 years.

n "People have ir nose full of it "

The club always talks about politics at a "current hour" at board meeting. At moment it does not really matter. "You're no longer so uncomfortable," main table says. "People are fed up with it" or "They do not want to talk about it anymore". There are always only same topics, without something changing.

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In Cologne it is difficult, in or NRW cities cooperation is even on ice: Duisburg currently has no contact with its partners in Gaziantep, sixth largest city in Turkey. The Dortmunder are silent with partner town Trabzon on Black Sea. Why this? Silence. At a particular event, both cities can not fix situation.

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The result is similar in Oberhausen, but re is a concrete reason for this: mayor of partner town of Mersin has repeatedly asked Oberhausen Lord Mayor Daniel Schranz to position himself politically, Desbina Kallinikidou says. She works in municipal office for intercultural in Oberhausen.

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Specifically, Schranz was to protest against Armenian resolution of Bundestag, to confess to President Erdogan after coup attempt in Turkey, and to delude himself publicly from Gülen movement, which is blamed by government for coup attempt, says Kallinikidou. The contact was n made difficult.

nTraveling in Turkey canceled n

"We know that not everyone in Mersin is represented, but that does not help us here," she says. "A partnership always has a political aspect." An association like in Cologne, which could cultivate civilian contact with citizens in partnership, would be helpful, Kallinikidou says.

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The civilian contact is also not easy for Cologne people. The heart of ir work has always been journeys to Istanbul. Wher for schoolchildren, teachers or athletes – Walter Kluth and or club members organized target group trips. Last year, re were only six registrations, trip was canceled, this year y did not even offer a ride. "We do not dare to get people re," says Kluth. He went alone with members of board.

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Also in Herford a trip to Turkish partner city was canceled. In Hamm one did not agree, wher one can drive, just before departure re was n still a lot of cancellations.

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At moment, Cologne community is concentrating on events in cadral city, where Cologne and Cologne are acquainted with each or. This is how members of association in Aachen are making a partnership with Istanbul district Sariyer. Recently, a summer festival was celebrated, and Turkish mayor was a guest at Karlspreis ceremony, says board member Mustafa Karaca.

nKölner Memorial provides restlessness n

The clubs in Aachen and Cologne want to continue in any case. "We hope that spook will be over," says Kluth. Of course, he is worried that partnership will be canceled from Turkish side because "re are a few hot topics," says second chairman, Monika Bongartz.

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It is, for example, a memorial that will soon remind you of horrors of Armenians in a cemetery in Cologne, or one of more frequently planned Kurdish demonstrations. In Turkey, some do not please. "I hope that Erdogan does not stop his own baby," says Kluth. Finally, partnership certificate is signed.

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