Merkel congratulates Erdoğan, cites regional turmoil
BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
Angela Merkel emphasized the 'close ties based on trust' between Germany and Turkey in her congratulary message.German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Aug. 11 on winning the election for the Turkish presidency and underscored the country's pivotal role in the troubled region.
"We are currently facing difficult challenges in the region," she said in a message sent to Erdogğan and released by her office. "Turkey has a major role to play in this context. I wish you success, endurance and strength for these weighty tasks."
Merkel noted the "close ties based on trust" between Turkey and Germany given her country's three-million-strong population with Turkish roots. "It is personally important to me to, together with you, maintain and strengthen the traditionally friendly relations between our two countries in the interest of our citizens."
Erdoğan beat his election rivals in a first-round poll victory Sunday and vowed to build a "new Turkey," while reconciling a divided country. His political allies have argued that the presence of a more powerful Turkish president could have a positive effect on the crises boiling across Turkey's region in Syria, Iraq and the Middle East, as well as in ending the ongoing division of Cyprus.
Some 1.4 million people with Turkish nationality in Germany were eligible to vote in the Turkish poll and for the first time were given permission to cast ballots abroad.