Rarely has a brief visit by a head of state generated as much buzz as Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s lightning visit to Berlin yesterday.

And the Erdogan-Soltz joint press conference may have been stormy, with the Turkish president’s pointed references to the Holocaust and Germany’s “guilt”which to this day dictate its attitude towards Israel, however, in the four-four between the two leaders and the dinner that followed, it seems that there was a convergence of the two sides on some points.

Despite Erdogan’s all-out attack on Israel (without however questioning yesterday, at least in terms of formalities, Israel’s statehood) it seems that the two sides agreed on three points regarding the developments in the Middle East, according to information from the German news agency dpa: to avoid further escalation, freeing Hamas hostages and providing humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Germany pushes for migrant returns

According to German government sources cited by dpa, in the hot field of migration Olaf Solz asked Tayyip Erdogan to accept rejected asylum seekers back to Turkey. At the same time, the creation of a “resilient mechanism” as well as a “joint working group” that will work in this field, with the aim of reducing migration flows and dealing with irregular migration, was put on the discussion table.

It is worth noting that the same issue – that of dealing with secondary immigration to Germany and the German pursuit to speed up the returns to the first host countries – was also underlined by the German side during the recent visit of Kyriakos Mitsotakis to Berlin at the beginning of the week.

Soltz praised for the Greek-Turkish approach

German government circles speaking to dpa they also speak of an agreement regarding the training of imams in Germany and not the continuation of their mission from Turkey. Germany also offered support to Turkey to restore educational institutions in the areas affected by the February earthquake.

Erdogan-Sholz agreed, among other things, to continue exerting pressure on Moscow for ending the war in Ukraine, while according to the same report, Olaf Solz reportedly also requested the acceleration of the parliamentary process pending in Turkey to ratify Sweden’s request for NATO membership.

At the same time, however, Chancellor Soltz reportedly praised the efforts to de-escalate the tension between Turkey and Greece, against the backdrop of Erdogan’s upcoming visit to Athens on December 7 and as a follow-up to Mitsotakis’ recent visit to Berlin.

Dimitra Kyranoudis