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Turkish PM Yıldırım to meet German Chancellor Merkel

Turkish PM Yıldırım to meet German Chancellor Merkel

If the Social Democrats' members do not vote to back the coalition deal and Germany is forced to hold a new election, Merkel said she does not rule out again seeking another term as chancellor.

Mr Schulz's deputy Olaf Scholz - the Hamburg mayor who is slated to become finance minister in the new government - said he would become caretaker SPD chairman, and the party confirmed that it had recommended parliamentary floor leader Andrea Nahles as Mr Schulz's longer-term successor.

Germany's center-left Social Democratic Party shuffled its top leadership Tuesday, seeking to end internal squabbles and re-focus its members on passing an agreement to form a new government with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives. The 63-year-old won September elections but fell short of a clear majority, in large part due to the rise of the far-right, anti-immigration AfD which took votes away from all major parties.

Ties between Turkey and Germany have strained in recent years, as Turkish politicians blasted their German counterparts for not taking serious measures against outlawed groups and organizations Turkey deems terrorist, such as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

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"The SPD needs an organizational, programmatic and personnel renewal, and I wanted to facilitate that", Schulz told reporters in Berlin in announcing his retreat.

"Of course the list will draw from party's entire spectrum", Merkel told public broadcaster ZDF in the interview.

Mr Schulz, 62, ditched plans to take the post of foreign minister after fierce criticism from some former allies, not least because he had pledged not to serve in a cabinet with Ms Merkel.

Within the demoralised SPD, an even more dramatic feud has broken out into the open - between election loser Martin Schulz and his former ally turned rival Sigmar Gabriel. As a result of the pact, the CDU will occupy the ministries of Economy and Energy, Education and Investigation; Agriculture and Food; Defense and Health. The SPD's 464,000 members still have the chance to veto the decision in a postal ballot. Ms Merkel's conservative bloc was also down 1 point at 29.5 percent.