Ankara, Berlin growing closer in cooperation: German minister
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Ankara and Berlin are growing closer in terms of cooperation, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Jan. 13 as he paid a visit to Istanbul following the previous day’s Sultanahmet attack, which killed 10 German tourists and injured 15.
“If the aim of the terrorists was to foil cooperation between two countries or damage it in any way, they failed. On the contrary, Turkey and Germany are growing closer in terms of cooperation,” de Maiziere said at a joint conference with his Turkish counterpart, Efkan Ala.
De Maiziere also said there had been no clue regarding a direct targeting of German citizens in the attack within the framework of the investigation, assuring his hosts that the country would not cancel visits to Turkey following the attack which he called as “an attack on humanity.”
“We will not step back in the face of terror. We will continue our efforts on finding political solutions as well as maintaining our fight against terror,” de Maiziere said.
Meanwhile, Ala emphasized that terror necessitated an effective cooperation between countries, vowing that such terrorist attacks would not damage the cooperation, belief in the future and desire to develop a new world.
“Global terror will be the most significant subject matter of humanity in the next 100 years and it necessitates an effective cooperation between countries. Countries must be in absolute cooperation in the fight while disregarding the identity and the aim of terror. Turkey is making a serious effort on this subject,” Ala said, adding that one person linked to the attack was detained in Istanbul on Jan. 12.
Ala also acknowledged Berlin’s close cooperation in the fight against terrorism, saying 387 Germans had been banned from entering the country.
“A total of 3,318 people were detained within the context of [the fight against] radical terror organizations and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) until now. Some 847 of them were arrested and a significant number of them are foreigners,” Ala said, urging countries to take very serious measures and be open to cooperation.
Ala also confirmed the identity of the suicide bomber as Nabil Fadli, saying he entered the country as an asylum seeker on Jan. 5. However, he added that Fadli was not on a list of suspects in either Turkey or other countries.
The Turkish minister also announced that 11 tourists were wounded in the attack, including nine Germans, a Norwegian and a Peruvian citizen. Two of the nine injured Germans are in critical condition, he added.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said on Jan. 12 the country would put up a determined fight against terror.
“We feel a sense of solidarity with Turkey,” she said, adding that those who carry out such attacks, be it in Paris, or Copenhagen or Istanbul, have the same target – “our free life and free society,” Merkel said.
“The terrorists are the enemies of all free people, they are enemies of humanity, be it in Syria, Turkey or France or Germany,” she added.