Friday, 20 May, 2022

German Chancellor Scholz to meet Turkey's Erdogan in Ankara on Ukraine

Visiting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will on Monday hold talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, followed by a news conference.

According to a Turkish presidency statement, the two leaders are expected to discuss the Russia-Ukraine war and the Turkish-EU relations, along with bilateral relations, in the German Chancellor's first official visit to the country.

NATO-member Turkey has close relations with both Russia and Ukraine and brought the two countries' foreign ministers together last week for negotiations. Though those talks did not yield results, diplomatic efforts continue.

Germany and Turkey have significant trade relations, with bilateral trade in 2021 rising above USD41 billion. Some three million people of Turkish origin live in Germany, closely linking the two countries.

Relations between the two nations have, however, been tested by Turkey's human rights record, including the imprisonment of German journalists and an activist, as well as Erdogan lashing out against European leaders.

Germany considers Turkey an important partner in handling the ongoing refugee crisis with people trying to reach Europe from Turkey. The German government is also aware that Turkey has an important geo-strategic position as a NATO member.

In her 16 years in office, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel struck a delicate balance between cooperation and criticism, meeting with Erdogan numerous times. Her last visit was in October before she left office.