PM Erdoğan to begin Germany, France tour Tuesday

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will leave the country for a four-day trip that includes Germany and France on Tuesday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan seen during their talks in Ankara on March 29, 2010. (Photo:AP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan seen during their talks in Ankara on March 29, 2010. (Photo:AP)

Complying with an invitation from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Erdoğan will leave for Germany on Tuesday where he will stay for two days to attend ceremonies marking the 50th year of the emigration of Turkish workers to Germany. He will attend a symposium titled “Germany and Migration: Turks in Germany in its 50th year” in Berlin on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he will deliver a speech with Merkel at a meeting organized by the German Interior Ministry. Five decades have passed since the first Turkish guest workers flocked to Germany to help revive the country’s economy in the aftermath of World War II.

The year 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of an immigration agreement between Turkey and Germany in 1961.

Delegations from the two countries will also hold talks during Erdoğan’s visit, which are expected to emphasize the significance of the Turkish community in Germany for German-Turkish relations. Many other pressing issues such as Turkey’s European Union bid as well as the Cyprus issue and recent developments in the North Africa and the Middle East are also expected to be discussed during the talks. Erdoğan and his delegation will travel to Cannes late Wednesday to attend the G-20 leaders summit to be held in the city on Thursday and Friday, which aims to build on EU plans to stabilize the eurozone and further boost the global recovery. The summit will focus on Europe’s efforts to contain its sovereign debt crisis and avoid a repeat of the financial shock that roiled markets after the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008.

Turkey has criticized Germany many times in recent years for not dealing with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and other terrorist organizations active in Turkey and for not extraditing members of those organizations living in Germany, where it is estimated that around 4 million Turks live.

Last month, Erdoğan accused a number of German funds of funneling money to the PKK through loans offered to municipalities run by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). Expressing his discomfort with the behavior of some foundations that fund infrastructure projects in Turkey, Erdoğan said: “These [BDP] municipalities receive financial support from some foundations. The activities of one German foundation in the region are particularly striking. These foundations draw up loan contracts, especially with municipalities run by the Republican People’s Party [CHP] and the BDP. They not only sign such contracts, but also make sure the deal goes to a specific contractor. This is an outright money transfer to the PKK.”






31 October 2011, Monday / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL