Erdoğan to Merkel: Turkey frustrated by German parliament’s ‘Armenian genocide’ bill
WARSAWTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed his discomfort with a German parliament’s resolution on the mass killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottomans a century ago when he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Warsaw on July 9.
“The Turkish president expressed Turkey’s frustration and discomfort with the resolution, while the German chancellor vowed to show the necessary sensitivity required for the move to not cast a shadow over bilateral relations,” Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said.
A source close to the Turkish Presidency said Merkel stressed she would do her utmost to ensure this event would not harm German-Turkish relations, Reuters reported.
In a press conference after the meeting, Merkel said she had talked through German-Turkish differences in a constructive spirit with Erdoğan but the issues had not disappeared.
“We discussed all outstanding issues. The atmosphere was constructive... and very businesslike in an effort to solve the existing conflicts,” Merkel told reporters.
Asked whether they had been resolved, she said: “The differences don’t just disappear through such a discussion. But I believe it was important that we talked them through.”
The German parliament passed the resolution on June 2, causing outrage in Turkey, which denies the accusation. Relations between the two countries have been strained since then, with Ankara withdrawing its ambassador from Berlin.
In apparent retaliation, German parliamentarians were denied access to the İncirlik Air Base in southeastern Turkey, where some 250 German troops are participating in NATO operations against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in Iraq, prompting protests from the Berlin government.
The Turkish source said Merkel had raised the issue and asked Erdoğan to restore access to İncirlik for lawmakers, who approve all military spending and investment.
Erdoğan had replied that the air base was not a place for “public shows and marketing” but Turkey would consider the request in the light of German statements on relations, the source said, according to Reuters.
The source close to the Turkish Presidency said Merkel also expressed satisfaction with the way Turkey was keeping its word in preventing refugees and migrants crossing the Aegean Sea to Greece after more than 1 million flooded into Europe last year, most ending up in Germany.
The two leaders also discussed intelligence cooperation in the fight against foreign fighters recruited by ISIL in Syria, some of whom have returned to carry out attacks in Europe.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan conveyed his condolences to U.S. President Barack Obama over the tragic events unfolding in the U.S. recently during the course of the summit.
Separately, the Turkish president told U.K Prime Minister David Cameron he respected the vote of the British people to exit from the European Union.
Erdoğan also met with the presidents of Ukraine, Finland, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Azerbaijan.