Schroeder, who came straight from Ataturk Airport to the iftar dinner held at Istanbul's Cevahir Hotel, was met at the door of the hotel by PM Erdogan. The two leaders greeted eachother warmly and entered the hotel together, with strains of Mozart's "Turkish March" marking their entrance into the salon where the meal was to be had. Following a call to prayer which rang out in the salon, the meal begun, with PM Erdogan and other invitees breaking their fasts with the iftar dinner.
Two leaders use iftar dinner to underline support for EU process
Following the meal, PM Erdogan rose to speak, thanking Schroeder for the support he had given Turkey on the EU process, and noting that the talks were "an historical development."
Schroeder spoke after Erdogan, wishing everyone in attendance "a happy Ramazan," and going on to stress once again in his speech that "the goal for Turkey's EU talks is full membership. It can be nothing less. The start to the talks is a success for Turkey. History always creates opportunities. October 3 is just such an opportunity."
Outgoing PM Schroeder points to common identities, respect for history
Schroeder also touched on German support for Turkey's EU endeavor, noting, "Germany's support for Turkey will continue. The road is long and rocky. I know that at the end of this road is success, and that you will achieve it. While we should take the fear and prejudgement on this subject in Europe seriously, we should also put it aside. A European identity ties us together. Our cultural identities also enforce a respect for history in us all."