Turkey, Germany in full cooperation against terror, Turkish PM says
AP photoTurkey and Germany will engage in full cooperation in fight against terrorist groups including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said.
“Germany and Turkey are in full cooperation against terrorist groups including Daesh and the PKK,” Davutoğlu said during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel following a Turkey-Germany High-Level Cooperation Council meeting in Berlin on Jan. 22. Daesh is commonly used by Turkish officials to refer to ISIL.
Turkey has also stepped up counterterrorism efforts at home targeting militants from ISIL and the PKK, with aerial campaigns, ground operations and in-town raids targeting the outlawed groups.
Making remarks on the ongoing migrant crisis that hit a large part of Turkey and the Europe, Davutoğlu said Turkey “is doing its best to stem illegal migration to Europe.”
“Open-door policy for refugees from Syria will continue,” the Turkish premier added.
“We see Syrians coming in from Syria as innocent people fleeing barbaric regime,” he said, adding that Turkey was hosting 2.5 million Syrians and 300,000 Iraqis on its soil.
“There are around a million migrant children in Turkey and around 150,000 babies were born in Turkey,” he said.
In a deal reached late 2015, the European Union decided to give 3 billion euros to Turkey tackle the Syrian refugee influx into the EU. The migrant crisis has helped the EU to revive the stalled relations. A new chapter was opened in mid-December 2015 in Turkey’s accession bid to the EU more than two years after such a chapter had been opened.
Expressing his condolences for the Germans who lost their lives in a suicide bombing attack at a tourist spot in Istanbul on Jan. 12, Davutoğlu said the attack targeted not only Turkey and Germany, but all of humanity.
“That was an attack that targeted humanity. The attack showed us terrorism had nothing to do with ethnicity,” Davutoğlu said.
“The number of deaths in the Aegean shows us how the situation of migrants is deteriorating,” Merkel said during the joint press conference.
Merkel said Turkey took the first step to turn illegal migration into legal migration.
“No one should make money out of human trafficking. Turkey took the first measure on this. We will continue to work together until Feb. 18,” she said, adding that the interior ministers of the two countries would be open to working with each other on anything related to the refugee crisis.
“The weight of refugees should be homogenized,” Merkel said, adding that the Jan. 22 meeting between several cabinet ministers on a counsel level would improve the relationship between Germany and Turkey.
Merkel said the international conference set to be held in London on Feb. 4 to raise money to fund the 2.5 million Syrian refugees affected by the Syrian civil war since the start of the conflict should be paid a great deal of attention. “We have to pay much attention to the fundraising conference in London on Feb. 4.”
Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama and Merkel discussed the refugee crisis in Europe during a phone call on Jan. 21 and agreed an upcoming donors’ conference in London would be a chance to galvanize global efforts on the issue, the White House said.
Obama told Merkel he plans to host a summit for leaders at the U.N. General Assembly in September to secure new commitments to help address the refugee crisis, the White House said in a statement.
“The two leaders committed to working together over the coming months to help protect and provide for the millions of people whose lives have been upturned by war,” the White House said.