Berlin and Cologne are cold today
The junior partner of the coalition government CSU (Christian Social Union Party) is opposing it. The main party does not want Tayyip Erdoğan to come to Cologne and deliver a speech. Apart from the concerns of the Greens, the Left Party and some Turkish associations, in fact the main partner in the government is uncomfortable.
The Union of European Turkish Democrats is celebrating their 10th anniversary. This union is supported by the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Erdoğan is visiting Cologne as the “guest of honor” for their 10th anniversary. The fact that he is going to speak at Cologne has been keeping the German government and the media busy for a week. Even if there are rarely a few positive stories in the media, it has predominantly been criticisms of Erdoğan. For example, yesterday some televisions were voicing “the concern that some incidents may erupt.”
Is it that Erdoğan does not want to see Merkel or is it Merkel does not want to see Erdoğan? Even though here, there are stories indicating “Erdoğan does not want to meet her,” the German media has a different opinion.
There is no official application but our tested waters in Berlin for a Merkel-Erdoğan meeting. Yesterday was May 23, the 65th anniversary of the German Constitution being accepted in 1949. Merkel is engaged in constitutional celebrations, she has no time. Based on these reasons, there is no meeting. The constitutional anniversary was yesterday, but Erdoğan is in Germany today. Anyway, there is a phone conversation scheduled.
Behind the tension between Turkey and Germany lies Erdoğan’s unfortunate words directed to German President Gauck. When Gauck drew attention to the restriction of fundamental freedoms in Turkey, Erdoğan came out saying, “Keep that mind to yourself.”
Now, one needs to ask: If another country’s prime minister used such expressions for President Abdullah Gül or for himself and if that person later wanted to make a private visit to Turkey, what would Erdoğan, I wonder, say to that person? You are right; he would exactly react like that.
Besides, the other partner in the coalition, Social Democratic Party’s (SPD) Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier lessened the tension. He said, “The German democracy is powerful enough to overcome Erdoğan’s making a speech here; it will,” trying to moderate the atmosphere.
CDU and elections
Merkel’s indispensable partner, the one she shares the same ideology with, the Christian Social Union is drawing attention to another aspect:
“The presidential campaign [of Turkey] should not be carried here. There are certain claims from the last local elections. In order to prevent similar claims, the votes Turkey casts here for the presidential elections should be counted here.”
The guys do not have any trust; they are monitoring Turkey closely in freedoms, democracy, elections and whatever there is. Because of these shortcomings, the CSU does not want “the polarization to be moved to Germany.”
The government spokesperson is also drawing attention to other aspects: “We hope Erdoğan delivers a speech that does not disrupt the social peace in our country and does not negatively affect our official relations. We have joint policies, economic and political cooperation.”
What can they say any more than that? They are extremely uncomfortable that he is coming to Cologne. The official spokesperson does not say “he should not come,” but warns Erdoğan in a diplomatic language. This is all a government, government spokesperson and media can warn a person.