Chancellor Merkel and President Erdogan concede little ground on many issues

World Today


A rocky start to Turkey’s President state visit to Germany. Recep Tayyip Erdogan was hoping to reset strained ties with Chancellor Angela Merkel but things did not exactly go as planned.

CGTN’s Guy Henderson reports.

To his many German critics, even the military honors were too warm a welcome. Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan was looking to reset relations though. So for a while, the hosts played along, and at the German Chancellory, the handshake went to script too.

But things started to go wrong.  A delayed press conference with the visitors objecting to admit a Turkish journalist convicted of espionage back home and now in exile in Germany. And when he did not show, it went ahead only for one of his colleagues to protest.

Tensions around Erdogan’s post-coup attempt crackdown also played out on the podiums. Berlin would not budge on renewed requests to send back Turkey’s most-wanted.

“We need more material if we are to classify the Gulen movement in the same way we have classified the Kurdish PKK as a terrorist group,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “There are some cases where we search for them in Germany, but we don’t even know whether those people are still here.”

On the streets of the German capital, pro-Kurdish protesters accused Erdogan of threatening peace and security.

Ahead of a state banquet, the Turkish leader visited a memorial to victims of war and dictatorship but is a scene perhaps verging on the ironic to many German politicians as they believe this is a leader turning back on democracy.