German conservative chancellor candidate Armin Laschet has promised to improve ties with Turkey if his party wins parliamentary elections on Sunday.
"I know how important Turkey is to us, as a NATO member, as a country closely linked to Europe, with many [areas of] cooperation," Laschet said Monday in an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency.
"And as a friend of Turkey, I hope that with my chancellorship, relations will improve again. We have to work on that," he stressed.
The 60-year-old experienced politician, who is the leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is hopeful that the conservative bloc will win the elections and he will succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor.
Laschet praised the contributions of Germany's Turkish community to the country and said the first generation of Turkish immigrants worked hard in rebuilding the economy and many from the second and third generations have successfully integrated into the society.
"One of my goals would be to ensure that German society recognizes this great potential," he said, and promised to take steps to eradicate all forms of discrimination and achieve equal opportunities for all people with migrant backgrounds.
Laschet said if his party wins the election and forms the new government, economic growth, digitization and climate change would be their main priorities.
"The most important thing is that we should focus on economic growth again after the [coronavirus] pandemic," he said, adding they will implement new programs to modernize the country, to achieve goals on digitalization, energy transition and climate protection.
He also promised an active foreign policy, stressing that Germany will continue to act in a responsible way.
"We will continue to make our contributions for the world. We have witnessed a disaster in Afghanistan. It will remain important for us to make our contributions to stability in the world," he said.
German voters will elect a new parliament on Sept. 26, and the result will determine who will succeed Merkel as chancellor, since she is not running for another term.
While the Social Democrats are leading in most recent surveys, Laschet is still hopeful that his conservative CDU/CSU bloc will win the elections, as surveys show that many voters are still undecided days before the polls.