Merkel, Erdogan mend ties

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BERLIN — Germany’s Angela Merkel hosts Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Berlin Friday to try to repair badly frayed ties, a task complicated by planned anti-Erdogan protests and the chancellor’s own domestic woes.

The pair are meeting a day after Germany beat Turkey to become the Euro 2024 host nation, following a tight race that took on political significance when Erdogan fanned accusations of German discrimination in football.

In an editorial in the Frankfurter Allgemeine daily, Erdogan said he wanted to “turn the page” on a long period of tensions, sparked by Berlin’s criticism of his crackdown on opponents after a failed 2016 coup.

His state visit to Germany, complete with military honours, is Erdogan’s first there since becoming president in 2014 and comes as he is sparring with US President Donald Trump and the Turkish economy is in rapid decline.

But critics, including rights campaigners and German politicians, are angered by the red carpet treatment for a leader who has built an increasingly authoritarian reputation and just 18 months ago accused Berlin of “Nazi practices.”

Merkel herself has repeatedly stressed the importance of good relations with Ankara, a partner she relies on to help stem the flow of migrants to Europe.

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