Merkel to increase support for Turkey in fight against terror

In her first visit to the country since the failed military coup on July 15, 2016, German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised to boost cooperation in the fight against regional terror.

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Bestepe Presidential Complex in Ankara on February 2, 2017.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday discussed with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel regional approaches to the problem of terror.

Erdogan said that although a majority of countries have condemned Daesh, as a Muslim-majority nation Turkey was leading the fight against the terror group.

Merkel responded, "We appreciate Muslims and we have to fight in cooperation [against Daesh]."

Merkel also praised the Turkish people’s resistance to the July 15, 2016 attempted coup, which killed 248 people when elements of the military and police attempted to overthrow the presidency and government.

She said Germany was working on Turkey’s request for the extradition of members of US-based Fetullah Gulen's movement, which Ankara calls the Fetullah Terrorist Organization, or FETO.

Ankara accuses FETO of being behind the attempted putsch. Gulen denies any involvement in the failed coup.

Germany has a three-million-strong Turkish community. It is one of the countries where Gulen's organisation has a network with dozens of private schools, businesses and media organisations.

“We need to have proof to take steps and measures. The courts have been evaluating this evidence,” Merkel said with regard to the extradition requests.

“The two countries’ ministers of justice will negotiate on these issues from now on,” she added.

Merkel meets Turkish PM

In a separate meeting, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Ankara wanted more from the German administration in the fight against FETO and the PKK.

"These terrorist groups became a headache for Turkey, but I am sure that they could be a great threat to the whole of Europe in the future," Yildirim said at a joint news conference with the German leader.

"Terrorism is not only a problem for Turkey and Germany, but also a headache for the world," he said.

"So sweeping all terror groups, including Daesh, from the region is a common duty for all of us," Yildirim added.

Other issues the two sides discussed included Syria, Iraq, Cyprus and the refugee crisis, as well as how to increase bilateral trade and work together on the tourism sector.

"The visit was a significant sign of Turkey-Germany solidarity," Yildirim said.

TRT World's Hasan Abdullah has more on Merkel's meetings in Ankara. 

TRTWorld and agencies