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Erdoğan-Merkel meet amid tension

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met in Hamburg Thursday, on the eve of the G20 summit.

According to CNNTürk the meeting, which occurred under the shadow of a war of words between Berlin and Ankara regarding the Turkish president’s program in Germany, took one hour.

Berlin’s refusal to allow a possible rally by Erdoğan during the G20 summit strained relations between the two countries, which were already frayed due to a German veto of the entry into Germany of members of Erdoğan’s security detail who attacked protesters in Washington in May.

Erdoğan told German weekly Die Zeit prior to his visit that Berlin is committing suicide by not allowing him to speak to Turks living in Germany on the sidelines of a G20 summit.

Berlin also warned Turkey on Monday not to hold any rallies at Turkish missions in Germany due to a ban on activities by non-EU leaders before the federal elections on Sept. 24.

As tension continues between the two capitals, the pro-government Star daily on Thursday targeted German foundations in Turkey, accusing them of being behind all social, ethnic and sectarian problems in the country.

Recalling that 22 German foundations and institutes have been active in Turkey, Star said an investigation has already been launched into the foundations by the Interior Ministry.

“Although those organizations seem to be conducting NGO and scientific activities, their budgets are covered by the German state and they de facto work under the control of the German intelligence service (BHD),” said Star in its front page story.

Relations between Turkey and Germany have deteriorated over the past year due to the blocking of a campaign in Germany for a referendum in Turkey, Erdoğan’s repeated emphasis on reintroducing the death penalty, Germany’s granting of asylum to military officers and diplomats who are accused of a failed coup attempt and human rights abuses in Turkey, including the arrest of two German-Turkish journalists.

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