1000s rally as Erdogan opens mosque in Cologne

Geneva Stokes
October 4, 2018

Turkey will resist USA efforts to impose sanctions on Ankara over the trial of a Christian pastor who has been detained for two years, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday, accusing the preacher of having "dark links with terror".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrapped up a three-day trip to Germany on Saturday visit to the western city of Cologne, where he inaugurated one of Europe's biggest mosques. Turkey blames Gulen for the failed coup attempt.

Erdogan told politicians that fluctuations in the lira did not reflect the economic reality and that the country would overcome "attacks on the economy". German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not attend the banquet but no official reason was given for her absence.

The German president said he is concerned about the fate of German citizens, activists, journalists and political opponents imprisoned in Turkey.

"The two parties are willing to move forward to get out of the impasse", said Ilke Yoygur, an analyst at the Elcano Royal Institute in Madrid.

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The newspaper quoted Erdogan as telling reporters on the flight home: "I don't know all of the names but it is a substantial list".

Last year President Erdogan has accused Germany in the "Nazi practices", after several Turkish Ministers in Berlin were forbidden to hold rallies in the country. "It therefore marks the beginning of a road towards detente", Marc Pierini, visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe and a former European Union ambassador to Turkey, told AFP.

He further vowed to combat "twisted diplomacy" that applies sanctions against Turkey by pleading for "a pastor who is being tried due to obscure relations with a terror group".

Dispensing with the usual diplomatic pleasantries, Mr Steinmeier expressed concern over Germans, union activists, lawyers, journalists and politicians jailed in Turkey, telling Mr Erdogan: "We can not simply gloss over this issue".

"It will be a long and arduous road toward normalisation", he said.

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