Steinmeier meets Erdogan: Difficult conversations in difficult times

As of: April 24, 2024 3:19 a.m

Today Federal President Steinmeier’s trip to Turkey comes to an end. In Ankara he will meet with Turkish President Erdogan – an appointment with potential for conflict.

The most politically demanding appointment is planned today on the last and third day of the Federal President’s trip to Turkey. Frank-Walter Steinmeier wants to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – a man with whom he has already fought many arguments.

Today’s meeting also has the potential for conflict. Steinmeier doesn’t expect easy conversations – if only because of the topics: “I don’t think there are many options to choose from. We will of course have to talk about the major conflicts in our neighborhood. This is Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. These are them Conflicts in the Middle East.”

Erdogan supports Hamas

Berlin and Ankara have opposing views, particularly on the Gaza conflict. Erdogan supports the radical Islamist Palestinian organization Hamas. A few days ago he received their head of foreign affairs. Germany, on the other hand, classifies Hamas as a terrorist organization.

The Federal President still hopes for a common interest: “To prevent an escalation in the Middle East.”

How does Steinmeier speak Turkish? Human rights situation at?

It is also eagerly awaited how the Federal President will address the human rights situation in Turkey – for example the imprisonment of important representatives of Turkish civil society such as the cultural promoter Osman Kavala. The Turkish president had reacted angrily to German criticism in this area in the past.

The Federal President was cautious in advance. The discussions today are unlikely to be “easy conversations on all points.”

Lindner accompanies Steinmeier

There are also likely to be conflicting opinions in the talks between the Turkish and German finance ministers, which are also scheduled for today. Christian Lindner, who is accompanying the Federal President in Turkey, said the day before the meeting: “Specifically, I will speak to my counterpart about the issue of sanctions against Russia due to the war in Ukraine.” Turkey has significantly increased its exports to Russia.

So there is a lot of potential for conflict. And yet the Federal President actually wants to use his trip to focus on the mutual interdependence and friendship between Germany and Turkey. The reason for the visit is the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

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