President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is currently in the U.S. attending the 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembly, will pay an official visit to Germany on Sept. 27. Erdoğan will head to Berlin upon the invitation of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Over the past 15 years, Erdoğan has paid many visits to Germany, both as prime minister and president of Turkey. The upcoming meeting is of vital importance for the normalization of bilateral relations following a few harsh years.
As two countries affected by the destructive policies of U.S. President Donald Trump, it is in the best interests of both Turkey and Germany to normalize relations and establish closer ties. When he said "the world is bigger than five" during a previous U.N. General Assembly session, Erdoğan criticized the U.N. on the grounds that institutions like the U.N. Security Council, who are responsible for guaranteeing international security, turned a deaf ear to what happened in Syria, as they had done with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Palestine, Rwanda, Yemen and Rahkine State. His words also reflected Germany's concerns. Turkey and Germany are extremely sensitive to the refugee issue, and it is well known that Turkey has been devoting itself to the solution. Although anti-refugee rhetoric is gradually rising in Germany and the rest of Europe daily, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been known to show great care on this delicate issue. Despite the anti-refugee stances of her own party and the allying Christian Social Union (CSU), and the implementations of some EU prime ministers that denigrate EU values, Merkel has resisted demands that go against the fundamental human rights of refugees.
In fact, this issue is expected to top the agenda of the meeting between Erdoğan and Merkel scheduled for Sept. 28-29.
Of course, the two countries have many subjects to discuss. Relations were particularly strained with the unfortunate attitude of Germany toward the attempted coup organized by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) in Turkey on July 15, 2016. This issue is still a key aspect that undermines bilateral relations.
Turkey rightfully expects Germany to act in line with the requirements of a state of law. Therefore, Germany is expected to take a strict stance against the PKK terror group and FETÖ.
FETÖ operatives are exploiting Germany and using the country almost like a hotel. In fact, it should be a priority for Germany to stop allowing this for the country's own interests. The PKK poses a major threat to the national security of Germany. Therefore, terror propaganda undertaken by PKK offshoots, who are constantly disrupting the peace in German society, must not be allowed.
Thus, this visit is crucial in terms of taking initial steps toward a solution. Constructive dialogue between the two countries is critical not only for Turkey-Germany relations, but for Turkey-EU relations, as well. If Germany wishes, taking small yet substantial steps will be possible.
Of course, some circles are disturbed by this meeting as they do not want the normalization of bilateral relations. For this reason, some groups are preparing to protest the meeting, which is convenient as long as they stay within the limits of the law. This visit has also given some forgotten people the opportunity to get their names back in the spotlight by issuing a whole slew of statements.
Several people announced that they will not attend the reception Steinmeier plans to host in honor of Erdoğan, which is good news. For instance, a pro-PKK parliamentarian's absence in the reception will please all the democrats who stand against terror. So, it is a positive development that parties like the Left and the Alternative for Germany (AfD), who constitute problems in terms of German democracy, will not attend.
In the reception hosted by Steinmeier in Bellevue Palace, we will meet our true German friends who value dialogue and believe that problems between the countries can be resolved through diplomacy. This event will also alleviate the Turkish community in Germany to some extent. Turkish-Germans, who constitute an integral part of German society, are very hopeful about Erdoğan's meetings with German authorities in Berlin. They hope that the disintegration between Germans and Turks observed over the past years will come to an end thanks to the meeting. Consequently, this visit is of vital importance for German society.
We hope that the official visit will mark a new beginning for the two countries and the EU.