Merkel calls for unity post Istanbul attack
Germany and Turkey must stand together in the fight against terrorism, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday, Anadolu reported.
In remarks made following Tuesday's Istanbul bombing that left 10 people, mostly Germans, dead, Merkel told a weekly video podcast that the Sultanahmet attack demonstrated the need for closer cooperation between the two countries.
"That shows in fight against terror we must stand together," she said, adding that interior ministers and intelligence services of both countries were in close contact.
Turkish officials suspect that the attack was carried out by a suspected Syrian bomber with links to Daesh.
Germany and Turkey will hold a joint mini-Cabinet meeting on Jan. 22 in Berlin, with the expected participation of key ministers.
Merkel said the meeting was planned long before the Istanbul attack, and the topics will not be restricted to security issues, and include talks about cooperation in various other fields, including economy and foreign policy.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's delegation will include Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz, Interior Minister Efkan Ala, Economy Minister Mustafa Elitas and EU Minister Volkan Bozkir.
Merkel said the conflict in Syria and cooperation to address the refugee crisis will be among key topics in the meeting.
She praised Turkey's efforts for nearly 2.5 million Syrian and Iraqi refugees, and renewed support for greater EU financial support to improve the conditions of refugees in Turkey.
"So far, Turkey received very little international assistance. The well-being of refugees in Turkey is also in the interest of Europe, so that they won't feel the need to leave Turkey," she said.
Germany has received a record 1.1 million refugees last year, many of them were Syrian and Iraqi asylum seekers who escaped from conflict in Syria.
Merkel expressed hope that with possible progress in Syria talks and an agreement on a cease-fire in near future, some refugees in Turkey will be able to return to their homeland.
"I believe that from the perspective of refugees, being able to return to their homeland again remains to be the best," she said.