Merkel to  Erdogan: Withdrawal of troops from Libya would be ‘important signal’

The phone summit between Angela Markel and Recep Tayyip Erdogan proceeded similar to a dialogue of the deaf, if press reports are to be believed.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday that the withdrawal of foreign troops from Libya would be an “important signal” as both leaders vowed to support the new interim government there, a German government spokesman said.  Greece is continuing its provocative actions while Turkey maintains its moderate attitude, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told German Chancellor Angela Merkel late Wednesday in a videoconference call.


Libya’s new unity government was sworn in on March 15 from two warring administrations that had ruled eastern and western regions, completing a relatively smooth transition of power after a decade of violent chaos.


Turkey had backed the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord against the eastern-based Libyan National Army, which was supported by Russia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and France.


Merkel and Erdogan agreed in a video conference to support the interim government of Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibeh in its efforts to improve the supply situation for the population and in preparing elections by year-end, the spokesman said.


“The Chancellor emphasized that an early start of the withdrawal of foreign soldiers and mercenaries would send an important signal,” the spokesman added.


Merkel and Erdogan also discussed international efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic as well as regional issues such as the civil war in Syria and international talks about the Cyprus issue, the spokesman said.


“The Chancellor and the Turkish President emphasized that adequate access for humanitarian aid to the people in need in Syria must be maintained,” the spokesman said.


Turkey had already rejected a request by Libya’s interim government to withdraw her troops, until nation-wide elections are to be held. Turkey and the Northern Cyprus Turkish Administration failed to agree with Greek Cypriote Administration on the parameters of unification in the latest round of talks, with the former pressing for a two state solution.


According to a statement from the Presidency, Erdogan also underlined that migrant pushbacks, which are illegal according to international law, has increased in prevalence as Greek security forces continue to force refugees back, which leads to casualties.


The statement also said that Erdogan wished Germany well for both the upcoming elections and beyond.


Emphasizing that he believes Turkish – German bilateral relations will continue to improve with a “right-minded” and “strategic” approach.


The leaders also discussed the current state of Turkish – German relations and regional matters, the statement added.


Turkey has accused Greece of large-scale pushbacks and summary deportations without access to asylum procedures, which is a violation of international law. It also accuses the European Union of turning a blind eye to what it says is a blatant abuse of human rights.


Pushbacks are considered contrary to international refugee protection agreements that say people should not be expelled or returned to a country where their life or safety might be in danger due to their race, religion, nationality or membership of a social or political group.


On March 3, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that Greece’s practice of pushing irregular migrants back to Turkey amounts to a clear violation of the 1951 Refugee Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights and European Union law.


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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.