1 November 2012
Erdođan increases pressure on EU states to further support Turkey’s fight against the PKK while Berlin gives backing to him.
Germany has vowed to increase its support to Turkey in the fight against terror, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdođan said yesterday, while also pressing for more action from other EU states.
“They told us they would increase their support in the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK]. I thank them. We have given orders to our ministers since it requires intense effort,” Erdođan said, speaking alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel after their meeting in Berlin. His comments came a day after the inauguration ceremony of the new Turkish Embassy building in Berlin.
“The EU’s attitude toward the PKK is clear and we want to see the results of this attitude. There shouldn’t be any Western-backed separatist terror organization. The West should put forward a clear attitude on this, this is what we expect from them,” he added.
Stressing that there were extraditions agreement between Turkey and most EU countries, Erdođan said Turkey expected such countries to fulfill the requirements of these agreements. “As the prime minister of the country, I often sign extradition decrees for criminals of those countries. We expect the same, this is our natural right,” he said.
For her part, Merkel repeated Germany’s commitment to Turkey’s fight against the PKK. She also spoke of Turkey’s bid for EU membership during the conference, describing the EU as an “honest partner.”
Erdođan also asked for German help in grappling with the flood of Syrian refugees into the country, calling the bloody strife across the border a “catastrophe.” He told reporters after talks with Merkel that Turkey could not manage the influx on its own. “We absolutely need the support and assistance of Germany,” he said. “At a time when we’re searching for global peace, this is of course a catastrophe and we have to stop it.”
Merkel acknowledged the situation in Syria had become “a real burden” for Turkey and offered “humanitarian aid” to help cope with the tens of thousands fleeing the bloodshed. Turkey has since sheltered some 108,000 refugees fleeing the conflict as well as the exiled Syrian opposition’s military and political leadership.
At an event on Oct. 30, Erdođan said the EU would lose Turkey if it did not grant membership by the year 2023. When asked during a panel discussion in Berlin if Turkey would be an EU member by 2023, he said: “They probably won’t string us along that long. But if they do string us along until then, the European Union will lose out and at the very least they will lose Turkey.”
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has also called for the revival of stalled talks on Turkey’s EU accession. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the new Turkish Embassy, Westerwelle said he hoped for a “new beginning” in negotiations next year. “For more than two years, no new chapter has been opened in the EU accession talks. This standstill is not good; it is bad for both sides, and next year we want to make a new beginning to overcome this,” he said.
Compiled from AA, AFP and Reuters stories by Hurriyet Daily News.