Merkel Urges Turkey to Stick with Peace Process

German Chancellor urges Turkish Prime Minister to stick with the Kurdish peace process despite escalating violence.

Ben Ariel ,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Flash 90

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, according to AFP.

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 report said.

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 (ISIS) 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 the PKK 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 ISIS 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 defense 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.

Merkel’s comments came hours after the White House said it backed Turkey's right to conduct airstrikes against Kurdish militants.

"Turkey has a right to take action related to terrorist targets," said deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes. 

"The U.S. of course recognizes the PKK specifically as a terrorist organization," Rhodes said, while welcoming parallel Turkish action against ISIS.

"You have seen of course much more assertive Turkish action in both Syria and Iraq in recent days," said Rhodes.