Erdoğan calls Merkel, urges accelerating work for Turkey’s presidential vote
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan looks at his watch at the end of his meeting with supporters during his visit in Cologne May 24. REUTERS PhotoPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has asked German Chancellor Angela Merkel to accelerate preparations for the upcoming presidential elections in Turkey, during which millions of Turkish voters living abroad – including 1.5 million in Germany alone - will be eligible to cast their votes.
According to a written statement issued by the Prime Ministry’s Press Office, Erdoğan initiated the telephone conversation with Merkel on June 12, in order to offer “thanks for the hospitality and close cooperation” of local German officials during his visit to Cologne in late May.
“Our Honorable Prime Minister reminded [Merkel] of the need for accelerating the process of allocating halls for allowing our citizens in Germany to cast their votes in the country where they live during the presidential elections that will be held in Turkey. Merkel stated that she was of the same opinion on this matter,” the statement read.
During his visit to Cologne visit on May 24, Erdoğan roused cheering supporters with a speech in what was widely seen as a campaign rally in Germany, which has the world’s largest Turkish expatriate community.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan informed Merkel about the ongoing work for the safe return of 80 Turkish nationals, including a diplomat, being held in Mosul by militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Prime Ministry statement also noted, without elaborating.
Erdoğan is expected to run for Turkey’s presidency in August, when Turks will for the first time directly vote for electing their president and Germany has a Turkish community of three million, half of them eligible voters.
The two leaders also exchanged views concerning issues onthe international agenda and agreed to stay in contact, the Prime Ministry statement said.