President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) is welcomed by Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel (R) during G20 Leaders’ Summit in Hamburg, Germany on July 07, 2017. ( Kayhan Özer – Anadolu Agency )
By Ayhan Simsek
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday praised Turkey’s contribution to the success of the G20 summit, a key gathering of the world’s 20 largest economies.
“Turkey and President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan showed a lot of commitment. He was very much engaged on the whole agenda of the summit and gave his contribution,” Merkel told a news conference at the end of the two-day summit in Hamburg.
“We also paid tribute to Turkey’s efforts for the refugees, and he also pointed out these efforts again during the discussion round on migration,” she added.
Merkel recalled that she and Erdogan held a bilateral meeting on Thursday on the sidelines of the summit, where they discussed recent political disagreements between the two countries.
“This meeting has shown that we have profound differences,” she said, and stressed that they had openly discussed these differences, rather than “sweeping them under the carpet”.
The Turkish government sharply criticized German authorities earlier this week for blocking Erdogan from addressing Turkish immigrants in Germany on the sidelines of the July 7-8 summit.
Representatives of Germany’s 3-million-strong Turkish community were planning to host Erdogan at a public event. However, German opposition parties fiercely opposed his planned address, putting pressure on the government ahead of a general election in September.
Ties between Ankara and Berlin have been strained in recent months as Turkish officials slammed Germany for turning a blind eye to outlawed groups and terrorist organizations, while German politicians criticized Turkey over human rights and freedom of the press issues.
Despite repeated requests by Ankara to arrest suspects involved in last July’s coup attempt, German authorities have turned down extradition requests and argued that Ankara should first provide legally sound evidence.
The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), which is believed to have organized the foiled coup bid, runs dozens of private schools, businesses and media organizations in Germany.
Since the July 15 coup attempt, nearly 4,000 FETO suspects went to Germany from Turkey and other countries, according to local media reports.
The terrorist PKK group has also a large network in Germany and carries out propaganda, recruitment and funding activities.
The group has nearly 14,000 followers in the country, from whom it annually collects more than €13 million (over $14 million), according to the reports of German domestic intelligence agency, BfV.