German Chancellor Scholz visits Turkey for talks with Erdoğan

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz travels to Turkey on Monday to discuss bilateral relations with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his first visit to the country since taking office.

The trip is expected to be dominated by the war in Ukraine.

The two leaders will hold talks in the afternoon followed by dinner.

Scholz is due to return to Berlin later on Monday.

Ankara has become one of the mediators in the war in Ukraine, which erupted on February 24 with Russia‘s dreaded invasion of its neighbor. Turkey, a member of NATO, maintains close relations with Ukraine and Russia.

On Thursday, the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Russia, Dmytro Kuleba and Sergei Lavrov, met in Antalya for their first meeting since the start of the war.

The talks were largely inconclusive, but Turkey has touted the fact that they took place as a success.

US President Joe Biden thanked Erdoğan in a phone call and EU officials also praised the Turkish leader for bringing the warring parties together.

The Ukrainian conflict has also brought Turkey closer to countries with which relations had been strained in recent years.

On Sunday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited Erdoğan in Istanbul on his first trip to the country. Last week Israeli President Isaac Herzog made his first visit.

For Scholz, Monday will mark his fifth trip outside the European Union since taking over from Angela Merkel in December. Previously, he had visited the United States, Ukraine, Russia and Israel.

Ankara and Berlin are major trading partners, as Germany has been one of Turkey’s top import and export destinations for decades. The two countries also share deep cultural ties due to the Turkish diaspora of 5 million people in Germany. Turkey is one of the main tourist destinations for Germans. It also hosts thousands of German expats.

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