Turkey- Ankara Berlin in joint anti terror mechanism

(MENAFN- The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) Germany and Turkey have built a new mechanism for their joint fight against terrorism as both of the governments have named figures to help coordinate joint efforts by the interior ministries of the two countries.

The decision to appoint the liaisons was made byGermanInterior Minister Thomas de Maiziere and his Turkish counterpart Efkan Ala as the two met during the first ever Turkish-German intergovernmental consultations held in Berlin on Jan. 22 and co-chaired byGermanChancellorAngela Merkeland Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet DavutoluGermanAmbassador to Turkey Martin Erdmann said.

“The first intergovernmental consultations were really very successful. In my opinion most important of all new dynamics have been given to relations between the two countries with this meeting” Erdmann told theHürriyet Daily Newsin an interview.

“A new chapter has been opened ministers of foreign affairs interior affairs the EU affairs defense and economy participated in this meeting and they drafted a joint working program. In the coming months insight will be given to this program and cooperation will be intensified. Each interior ministry appointed an official called a ‘sherpa.’ These officials one being inAnkaraand the other being in Berlin will designate agenda items on interior affairs and will lend support for cooperation between the two ministries” Erdmann said.

“Surely the fight against terrorism is one of the most important items on the agenda. Be it the fight against ISIL [the outlawed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] be it the fight against thePKK[the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] there are items at the top of the agenda. Intelligence sharing between institutions information sharing concerning terror cells etc. On the other side irregular migration is also an important agenda item. Communication and cooperation between the two countries’ official departments will also be assessed within this framework” the ambassador said on Jan. 25.

“The sherpa of theGermanside is an official a public servant personally appointed by theGermaninterior minister and is of Turkish origin; Sinan Selen. This displays a beautiful example for the relations between the two countries. AGermanminister appoints aGermanpublic servant and this public servant will represent theGermanside as a public servant who has roots in Turkey” Erdmann said.

The Turkish Interior Ministry has appointed Interior Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Mehmet Tekinarslan as its liaison for discussions and cooperation with theGermanside Turkish officials told the Hürriyet Daily News. Delegations led by the two liaisons conducted their first meeting inAnkaraon Jan. 26.

Selen has worked for the Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office the Bundeskriminalamt(BTA) since the early 2000s. Most recently he worked as the head of the Counter Terrorism Division at the Federal Interior Ministry. Known for his expertise on border security and foreign fighters joining ISIL he has represented Germany at many international conferences on these issues.

The term sherpa which comes from the eponymous Himalayan community has emerged in diplomatic parlance in recent times for an official who makes preparations for or assists a government representative or important delegate at a summit meeting or conference.

‘No Islamophobia in Germany’

There is no such phenomenon as Islamophobia in Germany the veteranGermandiplomat also said underlining that the activities of some right-wing extremist groups did not reflect the general environment in the entire country.

“I say this especially for Germany; I’m bored of these discourses on prejudice about Islamophobia. A phenomenon called Islamophobia in Germany is definitely out of the question” he said.

“Take a look at Germany how many hundreds of mosques will you see? Take a look how many millions of Muslims are able to perform worship without facing any obstacles?” Erdmann asked. “If some right-wing extremist organizations such as Pegida are marching and holding a demonstration in only one city in Dresden generalizing this for the entire Germany is not right and there is no Islamophobia in this sense” he said.

“Since Jan. 1 2015 Germany has accepted 1.1 million refugees and the majority of them are Muslims. We are spending great amounts to support these refugees. WouldGermansociety do something like this if a far-reaching Islamophobia which has broad impact existed? Germany is a country which is open to the world.

Looking at the last 40 years citizens with origin from Turkey have enriched our society and our country and looking at these almost 3 million citizens a considerable part of them are Muslims” Erdmann said.

Following the Jan. 22 meeting Davutolu and Merkel signed a joint communiqué under which “the Turkish government will do everything to reduce the number of refugees” crossing into the European Union. The two leaders also “emphasized their commitment toward meaningfully advancing the negotiations between Turkey and the EU on visa liberalization with a view to lifting the visa requirements for Turkish citizens to the Schengen area by October 2016.”

“Regardless of what people think and of public’s reaction an action plan has been agreed upon and representatives of elected governments arrived at such a joint conclusion. How voters in member countries will assess the visa liberalization process is a collateral issue. What matters is that an action plan has been presented by the elected governments and this has to be accepted” Erdmann said.

The Journal Of Turkish Weekly

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