TURKEY

Erdoğan to meet Merkel during his Germany visit in September

ERDOĞAN TO MEET MERKEL DURING HIS GERMANY VISIT IN SEPTEMBER

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will be holding talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during his visit scheduled for Sept. 28-29, a spokesperson from Merkel's office confirmed yesterday.

Merkel spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said the chancellor will meet with Erdoğan and "all the important issues, including differences, will be addressed." She added that details of the visit have yet to be worked out.

On Tuesday, German President Frank Walter Steinmeier's office confirmed the date of the Erdoğan visit. The long-anticipated visit will be Erdoğan's first visit to the country since 2014.

As relations between the countries have been strained by a range of issues, the visit is expected to play a significant role in discussing the problems souring the ties, including Berlin's tolerance of followers of the PKK terrorist organization in the country's borders.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on July 31 that the German president's invitation to Erdoğan would be an important opportunity to discuss the current differences between Ankara and Berlin.

"I believe that one has to treat an elected head of state in an appropriate manner and that is what the president has done," Maas said in a press conference in Berlin.

"And it is especially important to talk with someone with whom you have many unresolved issues," he added.

Relations between the two NATO allies hit new lows following a failed coup in 2016. Turkey has criticized Berlin for not handing over suspects linked with the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) over their role in the failed coup, which killed 250 people and injured 2,200 others.

During the campaign period for the April 16, 2017 referendum in Turkey and ahead of the June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections, German authorities made controversial decisions on political rallies in Germany by Turkish political parties. German authorities banned the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) from organizing campaign events on the grounds of security, but tolerated those of opposition parties

Meanwhile, prior to the visit to Germany in late September, Erdoğan is expected to follow a dizzying diplomatic agenda in September as he is set to pay official visits to various countries and attend significant meetings.

A visit to Kyrgyzstan comes first in Erdoğan's calendar. He will visit the country on Sept. 1-3 and will be welcomed by Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov to discuss bilateral ties between the countries. In the meetings, ways to increase trade volume and cooperation in the fight against FETÖ are expected to be discussed by the delegations. Erdoğan will also attend the meeting of the Turkic Council with the participation of leaders from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.

On Sept. 7, Erdoğan will host a significant summit in Istanbul. France, Germany and Russia will participate in the summit to discuss regional developments, the Syrian crisis and the U.S.' decision to impose sanctions on Iran and its further implications.

Following this summit, on Sept. 23, Erdoğan is expected to pay a visit to New York to attend the 73rd United Nations General Assembly. In his speech, Erdoğan is expected to give significant messages regarding issues including the Syrian refugee crisis and the structure of the U.N.

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