Germany prepares for Turkish President Erdogan’s visit

By Ayhan Simsek

BERLIN (AA) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will arrive in Germany on Thursday for a high-profile state visit aiming to improve political and economic relations between the two countries.

During his three-day visit, Erdogan will meet his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier and will hold talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

He is scheduled to meet with representatives of Turkish community and the CEOs of major German companies, separately.

In Berlin, Erdogan will receive a warm welcome, including a military honor guard and a state dinner hosted by Steinmeier at the presidential palace Schloss Bellevue.

Chancellor Merkel will host a lunch for Erdogan at the Chancellory on Friday, and the two leaders will meet again on Saturday morning for a working breakfast to discuss bilateral and international issues.

Erdogan’s visit comes at a time of growing tensions between the U.S. and Germany over President Donald Trump’s unilateral moves in foreign policy and his imposition of additional tariffs on foreign goods.

Developments in Syria, cooperation in addressing the refugee crisis, economic and trade relations between Turkey and Germany would be among other topics on the agenda.

On Saturday, Erdogan will travel to the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which has a large Turkish immigrant population.

In Cologne, Erdogan will attend the inauguration ceremony of Cologne Central Mosque, run by Turkish-German Muslim association DITIB.