Double visits: A Berlin-Athens-Ankara axis?
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Tuesday to discuss the situation in the Middle East and Ukraine, as well as irregular migration. Both leaders stressed the close and friendly ties between their countries. Ahead of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit today, commentators reflect on just how friendly relations between Berlin and Ankara are and can be.
No mere coincidence
The visits to Berlin are important for several reasons, writes news site Protagon:
“Kyriakos Mitsotakis's visit to Berlin and his meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday come at a particularly interesting time. It's not just a 'coincidence' that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will also be visiting the German capital three days after the Greek prime minister. Or rather, it's not just this circumstance that makes the meeting significant. After all, the Athens-Ankara-Berlin 'triangle' has many common areas of interest and even more points of friction. From migration to the Middle East and their interdependencies. The economic situation is also worth mentioning here.”
Pragmatism as a guiding principle
Ronald Meinardus, political analyst and senior research fellow at the think tank Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), writes in Kathimerini:
“At the height of the crisis, Erdoğan gave his approval for Sweden to join Nato. Although Ankara recalled its ambassador from Israel, it did not break off the diplomatic relations that had only just been established: 'The complete severance of diplomatic relations is not possible, especially in international diplomacy,' Erdoğan justified his restraint. .. It is this pragmatism that currently determines Erdoğan's policy towards Greece. Good relations with Athens are a bridge to the European Union for Ankara. Erdogan does not want to destroy this bridge, not at least for economic reasons.”
All about migration again
Erdoğan is only being used to keep the flow of migrants out of Europe, T24 is convinced:
“Amid the debate about whether or not he should come, Germany believes it would be right to try to get along with Erdoğan, even though it considers him authoritarian and has a different stance to his in foreign policy - above all to ensure that migrants remain in Turkey. The other EU countries are also supporting and advising the German government to adopt this approach. ... In Berlin, the cards could be reshuffled between Turkey and Germany and, beyond that, between Turkey and the European Union.”
Turkish president arrives at just the right time
The Süddeutsche Zeitung outlines how to deal with Erdoğan's problematic stance on the Middle East conflict:
“More moral indignation will not be enough to bring Erdoğan to heel. But there are other ways to show the president his limits. ... Ideally the German chancellor should use a moment in front of the cameras to make a clear statement about the state of Israel. And then the Turkish president should be told behind closed doors that his participation in the Western state model will very much depend on whether he finally exerts his influence on Hamas. This inaugural visit is the perfect opportunity for this. It should not have come a day later.”