German government spokesman Steffen Seibert chose to ease the tension between Ankara and Berlin regarding recent claims concerning alleged support for terrorist groups.
In his address to the media on Wednesday, Seibert criticized media coverage from several outlets that claimed a secret government document argued Turkey had long provided support for "Islamist" and "terrorist groups" in the Middle East
“Turkey has become, and remains an important partner in combating terrorism,” he said. “For us, Turkey is a partner in fighting Daesh in solidarity with those countries fighting this murderous ideology.”
A report by Germany's public television ARD on Tuesday claimed that the German government had described Turkey as a center for "Islamist" movements across Middle East, in its reply to a parliamentary question submitted by the opposition Left Party on July 14.
In the confidential parts of the answer, the government reportedly argued that the Turkish government had supported the Muslim Brotherhood (in Egypt), Hamas (in Gaza) and armed opposition groups in Syria, according to the report.
While the German government did not describe any of these groups as "terrorist" and did not made any accusations about Turkish support in its answer, ARD has claimed that, for the first time, Berlin has officially acknowledged that Turkey was supporting "terrorist groups" in the region.
ARD based its argument on the claim that Hamas has been listed as a terrorist organization by the EU.
Several German newspapers made this claim in their headlines on Wednesday, arguing that the German government believes Turkey is supporting "terror groups."
German Foreign Ministry deputy spokeswoman Sawsan Chebli, told a press conference Wednesday that these reports did not reflect the opinion of the ministry.
“We do not agree with these statements in the press, in the way they are generalized in these reports," she said.
She also underlined that this answer to the parliamentary questions was written without any consultation with the Foreign Ministry.
German Interior Ministry spokesman Johannes Dimroth admitted that an office in his ministry had made a "mistake" by finalizing the answer without consulting the Foreign Ministry.
He underlined that Germany bore a close cooperation with Turkey in fight against terrorism, despite certain hurdles in the past.
Dimroth went on to say: “We are very sure, Turkey is the most important partner in combating Daesh, also from the point of view of our domestic security agencies."
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