Ankara cancels German minister’s visit, keeps him waiting on phone

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German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. / AFP PHOTO / TOBIAS SCHWARZ

Turkey has canceled a visit by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the last minute, keeping him waiting on the phone twice, Deutsche Welle reported.

Despite high hopes, an agreement between Berlin and Ankara for the visit of German politicians to İncirlik Air Base in October has obviously failed to normalize relations between the two countries.

A group of German lawmakers on Oct. 5 finally visited German air force personnel at the base in the southern province of Adana after a months-long diplomatic row.

Ankara had blocked the visit of the German legislators after the Bundestag voted to recognize World War I-era mass killings of Ottoman Armenians as “genocide.” Diplomatic relations were strained for three months.

After months of wrangling, Turkey finally approved the visit in September.

Ankara’s decision to lift the ban on the visit of German MPs to İncirlik came days after a bilateral meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the sidelines of the 11th G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, in early September.

However, tension again escalated due to the arrest of editors from the Cumhuriyet daily and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies earlier this week. Steinmeier on Friday summoned the Turkish chargé d’affaires over Turkey’s detention of 11 pro-Kurdish deputies, foreign ministry officials said.

According to Deutsche Welle what is being witnessed is a reflection of the tension behind the scenes.

The Turkish government has recently been delaying the visit of Steinmeier to Ankara. Besides dragging its feet in responding to calls for the visit from Berlin, the Turkish side cancelled his visit two days before it was scheduled take place, despite the fact that it was previously agreed, Deutsche Welle reported.

Additionally, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu kept Steinmeier waiting on the phone twice despite the calls being planned far in advance. In both cases Çavuşoğlu did not participate and the calls were cancelled at the last minute.

According to Deutsche Welle, Ankara also boycotted German national day receptions around the world. No Turkish ambassadors appeared in any capital at German receptions on Oct. 3.

In response, Germany maintained a low profile during the Oct. 29, Republic Day, reception at the Turkish Embassy in Berlin.

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