Tayyip Erdogan inaugurates Central Mosque in Germany's Cologne

Howard TerryOct 03, 2018

Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the "racism" suffered by Mesut Ozil must never be repeated after the Arsenal star was forced to retire from the Germany national team.

"We are leaving painful terms in the recent past with Germany behind", Erdogan said.

Interpretations of the controversial visit varied wildly in Turkey and Germany, with Mr Erdogan boasting it was a hugely successful but the conservative German press complaining the red carpet treatment brought nothing but hassle and expense.

But the German chancellor stressed that "deep differences" remained on civil rights and other issues.

"Both sides are willing to move forward, out of the stalemate", Ilke Toygur, analyst at the Elcano Royal Institute in Madrid, told AFP.

He noted that Turkey lifted the state of emergency following the June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections in the country.

According to the president, opportunities and prospects for strengthening economic relations between Germany and Turkey will be discussed during the meeting.

Erdogan has already jumped to the defence of the 29-year-old and has now called for an end to the persecution suffered by the playmaker. "It therefore marks the beginning of a road towards detente", Marc Pierini, visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe and a former European Union ambassador to Turkey, told AFP.

Erdogan is due to open a mosque which was built by a group with ties to Turkey in the city on Saturday.

Erdogan is in Germany for a visit aimed at reducing tensions between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

But she also highlighted Germany's interest in a "stable" Turkey, which she relies on to help stem the flow of migrants to Europe.

Mr Pierini said the visit "illustrated sharp divergences on rule of law, especially freedom of speech and freedom of dissent".

"This method, which is supposed to make us pay a price, actually harms the USA most in the medium and long term", said the Turkish president.

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