Much praise for Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: After the Chancellor’s farewell visit to Turkey, Erdogan said that Merkel had always been interested in pragmatic and solution-oriented talks with Turkey. In particular, Erdogan praises Merkel for supporting Turkey on the issue of Syria refugees as well as Syria policy. According to the newspaper Sabah, Erdogan said: “Our close dialogue with Ms. Merkel has contributed significantly to developing solutions for regional issues. Ms. Merkel never shied away from taking the initiative and taking responsibility on a number of issues, from preventing an irregular migration crisis from Syria to providing humanitarian aid to northern Syria. I would particularly like to thank the Chancellor, on behalf of my nation, for her sincere efforts to solve the Syria crisis. ”This praise is remarkable in that Turkey has conquered parts of Syria with an illegal invasion. Turkey should actually disarm the Islamist mercenaries from the Idlib region and bring them out of the country. For years, Russia has been trying to persuade Erdogan to implement these measures without sustained success.
The central topic was the refugee agreement
Erdogan regretted Merkel’s departure and expressed skepticism about the nature of government coalitions: “Cooperation in coalition governments is difficult and we would have our relationships on a different level if there were no coalition governments,” said Erdogan, adding that this was the reason why Turkey switched to the presidential system. Merkel replied that coalition governments are better suited for Germany. Erdogan said ironically that Merkel sometimes complained about coalition partners.
Regarding the situation of German citizens imprisoned in Turkey, Merkel said: “We sometimes have very different views as to when the terrorism charge applies”. While the federal government was able to intervene successfully in some cases, new cases have always been added. Some of the German citizens incarcerated in Turkey are imprisoned for supporting Kurdish movements, which are classified as terrorist organizations in Turkey. According to the Federal Foreign Office, the number of German prisoners in Turkey is in the “middle double-digit range”.
Another central topic in the talks between Erdogan and Merkel was the EU’s 2016 refugee agreement with Turkey. “Turkey is doing exceptional things with regard to Syrian refugees,” she said. Germany is campaigning for Turkey to receive EU funding “over the already agreed six billion”. However, she complained about the lack of progress in mediating the refugee dispute between Turkey and neighboring Greece. Turkey is on one of the main transit routes for refugees to Europe. In the 2016 agreement, Ankara promised, among other things, to take action against gangs of smugglers who bring refugees to Greece. In return, the EU has supported Turkey with billions in the past few years.
Yet thousands of refugees are still trying to get into the EU from Turkey. Merkel also called on the Turkish president to cooperate in dealing with the radical Islamic Taliban in Afghanistan in order to prevent another refugee crisis. “So that people from Afghanistan are not also victims of people smugglers and smugglers, we must ensure that humanitarian aid is provided in Afghanistan,” she said. Otherwise a catastrophe threatens in winter. The Taliban came to power in Afghanistan in August after a campaign of conquest. Turkey – the only Muslim NATO country – is trying to get in touch with the new rulers and is negotiating with the Taliban to secure civilian operations at Kabul airport.
At the meeting with Merkel, Erdogan once again criticized racist and Islamophobic attacks on people of Turkish origin in Germany. The Chancellor promised that the German government would continue to act “very decisively” against all incidents of “misanthropy, racism, enmity of religions”. In addition to the “controversies”, Merkel also pointed out positive developments in the German-Turkish relationship. Sixty years after the recruitment agreement for Turkish guest workers, more than three million people of Turkish origin lived in Germany. (BLZ, with AFP)