15:23 GMT +315 October 2018
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    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, is welcomed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the first day of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, Friday, July 7, 2017

    Erdogan's Visit to Germany Comes Amid Lack of Enthusiasm to Help Ankara

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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Germany on Thursday for a three-day state visit identifying the "opening of a new page" in bilateral relations between Ankara and Berlin as a key aim of his trip.

    However, the outcome of Erdogan's first official trip to Germany in more than seven years is unclear after a series of sharp disagreements between the sides following the failed July 2016 coup in Turkey and Berlin's ban on Erdogan's campaign rallies in Germany ahead of Turkey's constitutional referendum in April 2017.

    READ MORE: Anti-Erdogan Protest Held in Berlin as Turkish President Visits Germany (VIDEO)

    Turkish Economic Crisis

    Erdogan's visit comes amid an economic crisis at home, a standoff with Washington over sanctions and a detention of US pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey.

    Ankara has recently seen its national currency plunge after US President Donald Trump's decision in August to authorize an increase of levies on aluminum and steel imports from Turkey, up to 20 and 50 percent respectively.

    Given Turkey's struggling economy, Erdogan might be interested in improving the relationship with Ankara's traditional partners in Europe. According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, there are about 80,000 Turkish-German businesses operating in Germany.

    "President Erdogan is in Berlin to test the water and explore whether Germany is prepared to support Ankara financially to avoid further economic downturn if the crisis worsens… Germany cannot slide Turkey into instability. The economic ties are too important and many Turkish-German import-export companies in Germany depend upon the economic health of Turkey. Still, there is not much enthusiasm among [German] politicians to help Erdogan," Michael Weigl, the professor of Political Sciences at the University of Passau, told Sputnik.

    Lack of Enthusiasm to Help Ankara

    Some of Germany's opposition politicians have been criticizing the decision of the country's leadership to grant invitation to Erdogan, vowing to boycott a state banquet at Berlin's Bellevue Palace on Friday.

    "It is totally inappropriate to give Erdogan a solemn reception with all the honors in the current situation. What [German] President [Frank-Walter] Steinmeier is doing is a wrong signal in the direction of Turkey," Georg Pazderski, a member of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, told Sputnik.

    READ MORE: Germany Processing Turkey Requests to Extradite Gulen Movement Members — Merkel

    He accused the Turkish president of "constantly interfering" in Germany's internal affairs and preventing the integration of the Turkish diaspora into the German society.

    Meanwhile, Green party lawmaker Cem Ozdemir decided to attend the dinner to "send a signal" to Erdogan that he will not be able to silence the opposition in Germany, arguing that the Turkish leader should not be granted a full state visit.

    Not an Easy Case for Merkel

    According to Weigl, the talks with Erdogan are not easy for the German chancellor since she should not let herself improve relations with Turkey under the pressure of public opinion and in face of a threat of causing further damage to the image of her center-right political alliance of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) and Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU).

    In continuation of his claims about the deteriorating CDU/CSU position, Weigl, expressed confidence that the upcoming regional elections in Bavaria on October 14 would confirm for the CSU the loss of its absolute majority in the land and would strengthen the AfD position.

    "The Chancellor cannot be seen to be too close to the Turkish president, Erdogan this week, since many Germans, including in her party, consider the deal struck by Mrs Merkel with Erdogan to be concluded at the detriment of Europe: billions of euros from Europe to keep migrants on Turkey’s side of the Aegean Sea," Weigl stressed.

    Pazderski, in turn, held a view, which is likely to dominate the public opinion of Germans, saying that instead of preparing a reception for Erdogan, Merkel should have immediately put an end to any cooperation with the Turkish leader.

    The views and opinions expressed by the expert speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    visit, Angela Merkel, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Germany, Turkey
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