Merkel urges Turkish PM to stick with Kurdish peace process
BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
REUTERS photoGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel on July 26 urged Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to stick with the Kurdish peace process despite escalating violence, her office said.
Merkel assured Davutoğlu of the "solidarity and support of Germany in the fight against terrorism" but also recalled "the principle of proportionality in the implementation of necessary measures".
The chancellor appealed to the Turkish premier "not to give up the peace process with the Kurds but to continue it despite all the difficulties," Merkel's spokesman Georg Streiter said in a statement.
Turkey has launched a two-pronged cross-border offensive against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadists and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants after a wave of violence in the country, pounding their positions with air strikes and artillery.
The Turkish army on July 26 blamed PKK militants for a deadly car bomb attack that killed two of its soldiers in the Kurdish-dominated southeast.
Merkel's office said Davutoğlu had informed her of "the actions of the Turkish government in the fight against terrorism following the attack in Suruç and other terrorist attacks against Turkish security forces."
Last Monday a suicide bombing blamed on ISIL killed 32 people in the predominantly Kurdish town of Suruç, just across the border from Kobane, Syria, the scene of fierce battles between Kurdish fighters and jihadists in recent months.
Merkel and Davutoğlu also agreed on a close cooperation between their foreign and defence ministries in the battle against jihadists, and between their interior ministers on handling the refugee crisis sparked by conflict in Syria and Iraq, Streiter said.
The PKK has for decades waged a deadly insurgency in southeast Turkey for self-rule, a conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives. A peace process that began in 2013 has so far failed to yield a final deal.
Germany has since late 2012 deployed two Patriot missile batteries and hundreds of support troops to fellow NATO member Turkey against potential missiles strikes from war-torn Syria.