Erdoğan to pay state visit to Germany in late September

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan prior to the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, northern Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Bernd Von Jutrczenka

Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan will pay a state visit to Germany Sept. 28-29, a spokeswoman for German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Tuesday amid efforts by the allies to improves ties strained by a number of disputes, Reuters reported.

The two fellow members of the NATO military alliance have differed over Turkey’s crackdown on suspected opponents of Erdoğan after a failed coup in 2016 and over its detention of German citizens.

The spokeswoman did not say if Erdoğan would also have talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel’s office declined to comment.

Germany’s Bild newspaper reported last month that Erdoğan would visit Germany around late September.

A state visit would include a reception by Steinmeier with military honors and a formal state banquet. The German and Turkish foreign ministers vowed earlier this year to do everything to improve relations.

Their resolve led to the release in February of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel, who had been held in Turkey for a year for alleged security offenses. His release fulfilled a key demand by Germany, which still takes issue with what it calls Turkey’s deteriorating record on human rights.

Another German national was arrested in southeastern Turkey last month accused of spreading propaganda for Turkish militants, Turkish state media said.

The Turkish government has purged more than 150,000 civil servants and charged 77,000 people since the failed coup.

It has also launched cross-border operations into Syria against what it says are terrorist threats by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, which it deems a terrorist organization linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies have criticized the crackdown, saying Erdoğan has used the coup as a pretext to muzzle dissent.

The government says the measures are necessary.

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