Germany's Merkel due in Turkey next week

In the runup to her visit to Turkey set for next week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday told a group of Turkish journalists, "Political aspirations should be provided by peaceful purposes. We definitely don't approve of terrorism or what the terrorist PKK does." On Turkey's European Union bid, Merkel repeated her proposal for a "privileged partnership" in lieu of membership, adding that she will speak about the Cyprus issue with her Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "I'm very pleased about this visit," she said. "It will build bridges between (European Culture Capital) Istanbul and the European Culture Capital Essen (Germany). Relations will be developed at the economic forum." She added, "Steps will be taken for a Turkish-German University. I will also meet with representatives of churches and visit a German school. I will see beauties of Turkey such as Hagia Sophia and Sultanahmet."