World Bulletin / News Desk
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has reaffirmed its stance against the defeated July 15 coup in Turkey and for the continuation of close ties with Ankara to address common challenges, including the refugee crisis.
In remarks made during a debate on the 2017 federal budget in parliament on Wednesday, Merkel said: “It is good that this coup attempt was foiled, and it was the right thing to do for people to take to the streets.”
Her remarks came after Turkey’s criticism of its European partners for failing to show strong solidarity with the Turkish people against the coup attempt by Gulenists, also known as the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), which left 240 people killed and nearly 2,200 injured.
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed understanding of Turkish criticism, and said Germany might have not made it clear enough at the beginning that this was really an “outrageous attack” against the institutions of democracy.
In his address to lawmakers, Steinmeier underlined that Germany solemnly condemned the coup attempt and extended sincere sympathies to the families of those killed in attacks by the coup plotters.
“In this respect, we definitely stand side-by-side Turkey,” he stressed.
Steinmeier said those responsible for the coup attempt should be brought to justice, and the rule of law should be adhered to in the course of investigations.
He underlined Turkey’s importance for Germany, describing it as the “key country” for efforts to find solutions to the main challenges in the region.
“Whoever speaks from here on the issues Syria, Iraq and Libya must know that none of the conflicts there can be solved without having Turkey on board somehow,” he stressed.
Merkel defends Turkey policy
Chancellor Merkel, who is under growing criticism by German opposition parties for her Turkey policy, dismissed opposition claims that her government was ignoring human rights issues while seeking closer cooperation with the Turkish government.
She said Berlin would not shy away from criticizing Ankara if human rights violations occur in the course of judicial investigations.
Merkel underlined Turkey’s important role in finding a solution to the refugee crisis and defended the EU-Turkey deal designed to address the problem.
“The EU-Turkey agreement is in the interest of both sides,” Merkel said, adding the EU and Turkey as well as Syrian refugees have benefited from this.
She said the deal had improved living conditions of refugees in Turkey and significantly reduced illegal trafficking through the Aegean.
Last year, Germany witnessed the biggest refugee crisis in decades and accepted more than a million refugees; most of these were Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans who traveled to the country through the Balkan route after crossing the Aegean.
The EU-Turkey agreement, which took effect in March this year, has significantly reduced the refugee influx.
The number of refugees who entered Germany has decreased to 18,000 last month, according to the Interior Ministry. It was nearly 100,000 in August last year.Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Eylül 2016, 09:13