Steinmeier’s state visit to Turkey

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is the first high-ranking German representative to travel to Turkey since Erdoğan’s defeat in the country’s local elections. The occasion is the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Turkish Republic and Berlin. Commentators look at why Steinmeier first visited the opposition-led city of Istanbul before travelling to Ankara to meet President Erdoğan.

T24 (TR) /

Germany’s kebab diplomacy

This visit is full of symbolism, writes T24:

“Steinmeier is travelling to Turkey with 60 kilos of kebab provided by Berlin restaurant owner Arif Keleş. It’s on the menu for the reception organised this evening on the Bosphorus. ... A separate meeting with İmamoğlu is planned. German media are describing the meeting as follows: ‘Steinmeier’s meeting with Turkey’s most popular opposition politician, the man who will probably be the next president, Ekrem İmamoğlu.’ Yes, this is an ‘official trip’, but Steinmeier won’t meet with Tayyip Erdoğan until the last day. German media write: ‘Steinmeier, who wants to emphasise the German-Turkish friendship despite deep political differences vis-à-vis Erdoğan, is embarking on an official trip replete with symbolism.’”

Yalçın Doğan
taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Erdoğan no longer first choice

The taz sees the meeting with opposition politicians as sending a strong signal:

“İmamoğlu’s convincing victory in the country’s largest metropolis also symbolised the defeat of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. It is no coincidence that at the start of his three-day visit Steinmeier is not meeting with Erdoğan in Ankara but with the latter’s biggest rivals in Istanbul. It can be read as a first testing of the waters. This is important for the opposition in Turkey: Germany and Europe clearly believe that a different Turkey is possible.”

Jürgen Gottschlich