ADDS STATE DEPARTMENT REACTION
ANKARA (AA) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday had a phone conversation, according to a presidential source.
The two leaders exchanged views on Cyprus peace talks and discussed the latest developments in Syria, especially the conflict-hit city Aleppo, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.
During the conversation, Erdogan said that Turkey wanted a fair, lasting, and comprehensive solution that protected both sides' rights in the island.
Reunification discussions resumed in May 2015, and both sides repeatedly expressed optimism that a solution could be found by the end of 2016.
In addition, the Turkish president said that European Union must fulfill its obligations about the refugees and expected Merkel to put forward a more active fight against terrorist PKK and Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) in Germany.
Led by U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, FETO is accused of orchestrating Turkey’s July 15 coup plot as well as being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through infiltrating Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and the judiciary. The July 15 defeated coup left 248 martyred and nearly 2,200 wounded.
On Aleppo, the two leaders stressed to speed up efforts for delivery of humanitarian aid to Aleppo.
The U.S. State Department said Turkey and Greece have "long established diplomatic channels for addressing Aegean issues" and encouraged both countries to work together to maintain good neighborly relations.
"It's obviously in the interest of the entire region for that to happen," agency spokesman Mark Toner said during a press briefing.
Located 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Turkish border, Aleppo is Syria’s second-largest city that used to be home to around three million people, mainly Arabs, including 400,000 Turkmens and 200,000 Kurds.
A year after the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in 2011, opposition forces took control of the city’s eastern districts.
In 2013, the Assad regime began a campaign of indiscriminate bombardment on the city that has triggered a humanitarian crisis in the war-battered city.