Turkey, Germany to hold joint Cabinet meeting
Germany and Turkey are to hold a joint mini-Cabinet meeting later this month with discussions to focus on terrorism in the aftermath of the Istanbul attack that killed ten Germans, officials said Friday, Anadolu Agency reported.
The Jan. 22 meeting in Berlin will see senior ministers from Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's teams talk about common issues such as terror and the refugee crisis.
"We will discuss all issues of common interest," German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said at a news conference.
The Turkish 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.
Ankara and Berlin stepped up cooperation last year in the face of a growing refugee crisis, with nearly 1.1 million asylum seekers arriving in Germany and more than 2.4 million living in Turkey.
Both countries share concerns over the conflict in Syria and the threat from Daesh, which has been identified by Davutoglu as being behind Tuesday's suicide bomb in Istanbul's tourist district.
Germany is Turkey's main trading partner and is home to around 3 million ethnic Turks.
German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said on Friday that Berlin attached great importance to the meeting.
"Beginning inter-governmental consultations with Turkey shows our interest in closer cooperation and this also shows Turkey's interest in enhancing relations with Germany," he told journalists.
As well as Daesh, Turkey is concerned about support for PKK terrorists in Germany, where there are an estimated 14,000 PKK supporters, according to a recent report by Germany's domestic intelligence agency.
Commenting on security operations in southeast Turkey, Schaefer said it was "totally legitimate to take measures against a terrorist organization" but called for "proportionality".
The PKK - considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and EU - resumed its 30-year armed campaign against the Turkish state in late July. The Turkish government has demanded a sterner approach from Germany in tackling PKK propaganda and funding.
Germany, which is home to around 700,000 Kurdish immigrants, outlawed the PKK in 1993.