Merkel urges Turkish PM to stick with Kurdish peace process

AFP , Sunday 26 Jul 2015

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a meeting on the role of women in leadership in Berlin, Germany, July 13, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday urged Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to stick with the Kurdish peace process despite escalating violence, her office said.

Merkel assured Davutoglu of the "solidarity and support of Germany in the fight against terrorism" but also recalled "the principle of proportionality in the implementation of necessary measures".

The chancellor appealed to the Turkish premier "not to give up the peace process with the Kurds but to continue it despite all the difficulties," Merkel's spokesman Georg Streiter said in a statement.

Turkey has launched a two-pronged cross-border offensive against Islamic State (IS) jihadists and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants after a wave of violence in the country, pounding their positions with air strikes and artillery.

The Turkish army on Sunday blamed PKK militants for a deadly car bomb attack that killed two of its soldiers in the Kurdish-dominated southeast.

Merkel's office said Davutoglu had informed her of "the actions of the Turkish government in the fight against terrorism following the attack in Suruc and other terrorist attacks against Turkish security forces."

Last Monday a suicide bombing blamed on IS killed 32 people in the predominantly Kurdish town of Suruc, just across the border from Kobane, Syria, the scene of fierce battles between Kurdish fighters and jihadists in recent months.

Merkel and Davutoglu also agreed on a close cooperation between their foreign and defence ministries in the battle against jihadists, and between their interior ministers on handling the refugee crisis sparked by conflict in Syria and Iraq, Streiter said.

The PKK has for decades waged a deadly insurgency in southeast Turkey for self-rule, a conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives. A peace process that began in 2013 has so far failed to yield a final deal.

Germany has since late 2012 deployed two Patriot missile batteries and hundreds of support troops to fellow NATO member Turkey against potential missiles strikes from war-torn Syria.

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