German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is traveling to the Turkish capital of Ankara on Monday to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The short visit — Scholz is scheduled to return to Berlin later in the same day — will be his first to that country since taking office in December.
What do we know so far about the visit?
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is likely to dominate the talks between the two leaders. Turkey has positioned itself as a mediator in the conflict, as it has maintained relatively friendly relations with both Kyiv and Moscow. Scholz and Erdogan are expected to give a joint press conference after the talks. Last week, the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Russia met in Antalya, the first such summit since the war began. Although the talks failed to bring about much change, Turkey touted it as a success that they happened at all. Ankara’s role in the war has led to improved relations with several countries with whom ties have been tense in recent years, including Greece, Israel, and the United States.
How are German-Turkish relations at the moment?
Although Germany and Turkey are both members of NATO and have close economic ties, their relationship has been strained in recent years. Erdogan has increasingly cracked down on domestic opposition within Turkey following a coup in 2016, drawing condemnation from Berlin. The government’s moves against the opposition include the incarceration of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel. Germany in recent months has also called for the release of detained activist Osman Kavala. Turkey has refused to let go of the prominent philantropist, despite a European Court of Human Rights ruling.
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