Erdoğan set to leave German empty-handed – Economist

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan looks poised to conclude a two-day trip to Germany starting on Thursday with few successes, according to The Economist.

Erdoğan would like to ratchet up several successes by the end of talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, not least financial help for Turkey’s ailing economy that bypasses the International Monetary Fund. Other aims include Merkel’s approval for talks on an expanded customs union with the European Union and to revive negotiations on visa-free travel for Turks in the EU.

Germany needs to normalize ties with Turkey to ensure refugees don’t flood across the country into Europe. Erdoğan needs old friends amid a political spat with the United States over the detention of Americans including U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson.

Berlin doesn’t want to see Turkey’s economy go down in flames. When Erdoğan last made an official visit in February 2014, the lira was at 3 to the euro and GDP was growing at 8.5 percent. Now the lira buys less than a seventh of a euro and Turkey’s economy is heading into recession.

But Erdoğan, who last year accused officials in Berlin of behaving like Nazis, is finding that burning bridges is easier than building them, The Economist said.

Turkey’s woeful record on rule of law is deterring German companies, who found themselves under suspicion of terrorist links last summer. Meanwhile, for Germany’s coalition government, Erdoğan’s human rights abuses and rhetoric make any progress in EU talks unpalatable, the bi-weekly mazagine said.