Ankara, Berlin to step up terror cooperation

Ankara, Berlin to step up terror cooperation

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Ankara, Berlin to step up terror cooperation

European protest following the assassination of three Kurdish women activists in Paris, France, on January 12, 2013. ABACA photo

Berlin has stepped up efforts to enhance bilateral dialogue with Ankara on curtailing the activities of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) following years of complaints from Turkish politicians that Germany does too little against militants.

As part of its bid at greater cooperation, Germany sent the state secretary of the Interior Ministry, Klaus-Dieter Fritsche, to Ankara on Jan. 21-22 for talks with both the Turkish Interior Ministry and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT).

Fritsche’s visit sought to increase regular dialogue between the Turkish and German security institutions in order enhance confidence between the parties, sources told the Hürriyet Daily News.

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich will also pay an official visit to Turkey in February in this respect. His visit is expected for Feb. 5-7, but the date may change due to a recent reshuffling of the Turkish Cabinet.
Berlin’s initiative came after the killing of three PKK-linked Kurdish women, including a co-founder of the PKK, Sakine Cansız, who was residing in Germany.

Turkey has been critical about some European countries, particularly Germany, for their perceived lack of cooperation against PKK members residing on their soil, which is host to much of the group’s fundraising activities.

Turkey increased the criticism of European nations “harboring” PKK members after three women with links to the group were killed in Paris on Jan. 9.

Last week, Mehmet Ali Şahin, a deputy chairman of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), warned that other PKK members could be assassinated in Germany.

His remarks were followed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s statement on Jan. 26, reproaching Germany for refusing to extradite Cansız to Turkey a couple of years ago.

In his previous meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Erdoğan asked for the extradition of PKK members, warning of further problems even for Germany. The funds raised by PKK members in Germany are transferred to the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq, the group’s hideout, Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan said he would repeat his unease to Merkel when the chancellor visits Ankara on Feb. 25.

There are nearly 30,000 PKK sympathizers living in Germany, according to sources in the country. German officials repeatedly reject claims that Germany does not support Turkey’s fight against the PKK.