https://ahvalnews.com-German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will hold talks on the situation in Ukraine with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday.
The two leaders will meet at 1:30 p.m. local time in Turkey’s capital Ankara, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. It will be Scholz’s first visit to the country since he assumed office in December. The meeting will be followed by a news conference and dinner.
Turkey, which has close relations with both the West and Russia, is seeking to act as a neutral broker between the warring sides in Ukraine. Turkey is a NATO member but has yet to impose any sanctions against Russia for the invasion. Like Germany, it relies on Russian natural gas to meet a large proportion of its energy needs.
Last week, Turkey oversaw talks between the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine at a diplomacy forum in the southern resort city of Antalya.
Germany has established closer relations with Turkey during Scholz’s predecessor Angela Merkel’s tenure, which began in 2005. Turkey began membership talks with the European Union the same year, but its application has stalled over a deteriorating human rights record and relations with Cyprus and Greece.
Germany has sought to maintain the EU’s relations with Turkey while criticising its record on human rights and democracy. It led opposition to a French plan in 2020 to impose tough sanctions on Turkey over a territorial dispute with Greece. It has also pushed for increased EU financing for Turkey’s hosting of Syrian refugees.
Germany and Turkey enjoy close economic ties. Annual trade volume reached $41.1 billion in 2021, an annual increase of 20.9 percent. Last year, almost 3 million German tourists visited Turkey. Germany is home to the Europe’s highest population of ethnic Turks.
Scholz is scheduled to return to Berlin later on Monday.