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“Surprise” on His Plane… German President Arrives in Turkey on a “Complex” Visit

Posted by Cayan on May 26, 2024

“Surprise” on His Plane… German President Arrives in Turkey on a “Complex” Visit


Official Visit and Complicated Talks

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier arrived today, Monday, in Istanbul, the first stop of his three-day visit to Turkey, described by the French Press Agency as complex. This visit marks his first since taking office seven years ago and is distinguished by an unprecedented event aboard a German president’s plane. Steinmeier’s visit aims to celebrate the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, starting with talks with Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, who is considered a leader of the opposition and a potential rival in the upcoming presidential elections.


Tension in Turkish-German Relations

İmamoğlu expressed deep regret for the current strained relations between Turkey and Germany and the European Union, and Steinmeier listened to him “with great interest,” according to sources in his delegation. Steinmeier’s talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are expected to be minimal during a scheduled meeting the day after tomorrow. The two men have a complex relationship dating back 20 years, reflected in Steinmeier’s delay in visiting Turkey for seven years.


Historical Events and Political Clashes

The last meeting between Erdoğan and Steinmeier was in November last year in Berlin, where Steinmeier affirmed “Israel’s right to exist” in front of Erdoğan, who is highly popular among the Turkish community in Germany. Upon his arrival, Steinmeier was greeted by about 50 protesters accusing him of supporting “genocide” in Gaza, and the police dispersed the protesters at the “Sirkeci” train station.


“Diplomacy of Shawarma” on the Plane

In a historic move, Steinmeier brought along his trip to Turkey Arif Kılıç, the owner of one of Berlin’s most famous shawarma shops, along with a frozen shawarma skewer weighing 60 kilograms. This presence symbolizes the success stories of Turkish immigrants in Germany and represents the Turkish kebab sector as a symbol of successful integration. Kılıç expressed his great appreciation for this trip, saying “I consider my journey on this trip a great token of appreciation.”


Visit to Earthquake-Affected Areas

It is expected that the German president will visit tomorrow, Tuesday, survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Gaziantep in February 2023, which claimed the lives of tens of thousands. After the earthquake, the German government pledged $254 million in aid to the affected.



German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s visit to Turkey reflects the complexity of bilateral relations between the two countries, but it also demonstrates a desire to strengthen these relations and celebrate a long history of cooperation. This visit, with its symbolism and unique events, may contribute to improving relations between Turkey and Germany and enhancing mutual understanding between the two peoples. The presence of figures like Arif Kılıç strengthens the bonds of cultural and social ties between the two countries and underscores the importance of enhancing economic and social cooperation in the future.

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