German Prez to conclude visit to Turkey with Erdogan meeting

Ankara, April 24 (IANS): German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will end his three-day visit to Turkey on Wednesday with a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan will first welcome his guest from Germany with military honours at 1.30 p.m. (1030 GMT), followed by lengthy talks, a press conference and a joint lunch.

Steinmeier and Erdogan are scheduled to meet for around three hours, with some unpleasant topics likely to be discussed.

It's thought Steinmeier will raise the cases of important representatives of Turkish civil society who are still in prison, including the cultural patron Osman Kavala.

The organisation 'Reporters Without Borders' has also appealed to Steinmeier to press for the release of media professionals who have been imprisoned in Turkey.

A particularly contentious issue is likely to be the war in Gaza, on which Berlin and Ankara have completely opposing positions. Erdogan has described Hamas, the Palestinian organisation responsible for the massacre in Israel on October 7, as a liberation organisation. He has accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of carrying out a "massacre" in the Gaza Strip and has even compared him to Adolf Hitler.

Steinmeier also wants to find out how things might develop politically in Turkey after Erdogan and his AKP party's poor showing in the local elections at the end of March. For the first time in its history, the Islamic-conservative party was no longer the strongest force in the country. Instead, the country's largest opposition party, the CHP, celebrated a triumph.

Before his flight home, Steinmeier intends to meet CHP chairman Ozgur Ozel. A brief meeting with another leading figure in the CHP, Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavas, is also planned.





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Title: German Prez to conclude visit to Turkey with Erdogan meeting

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