Ankara, Berlin should cooperate more against ISIL, German interior minister says
Hürriyet’s Publication Director Fatih Çekirge and its Berlin correspondent Celal Özcan interviewed de Maiziere during his meeting with Muslim community leaders in Germany.Germany’s Minister of Interior Thomas de Maiziere has said Ankara and Berlin are cooperating against the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), while admitting that more intelligence sharing is needed.
“The Turkish government has recently taken a clear, tough stance against ISIL. I would like to stress that. Our cooperation to prevent radicals using Turkey as a transit country is good, but it should be even better,” de Maiziere told Hürriyet during a meeting with Muslim community leaders in Germany.
Zekeriya Altuğ, the foreign affairs manager of the Diyanet Turkish Islamic Union (DİTİB), and Aiman Mazyek, the head of Muslims’ Central Council (ZMD), were also present at the meeting.
“We need to share intelligence on the travel movements of jihadists. This is very costly work. Intelligence agencies should cooperate on this issue. We talked about it during my visit,” de Maiziere added.
When de Maiziere visited Turkey last month, reports on Germany’s spying on Ankara dominated the news agenda.
Speaking on Sept. 18, he also said Berlin holds “deep respect” for Turkey for accepting hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and that he “wholeheartedly supports” Ankara’s efforts in the peace process with Kurds. “It is a positive development that the ISIL issue accelerated this process,” he added.
Of nearly four million Muslims in Germany, only around 6,000 are “radicals,” de Maiziere estimated, but he warned that although the ratio might be small, the number is still large.
He stated that the German government had banned all of ISIL’s activities and had worked to raise public awareness of the group.
“According to our predictions, some 400 young people in Germany are radicalized enough to carry the terror to Syria and Iraq after being deceived by a wrong call. Some of them have probably returned home already. We need the help of the Muslims in Germany on the issue,” de Maiziere added.