Germany eyes energy, transportation investments in Turkey
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to arrive in Ankara over the weekend for a two-day official visit at the invitation of her Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. During the visit, Merkel will be accompanied by CEOs of 10 major German companies, and her talks in the capital and Istanbul will be dominated by German investments in Turkey. Reportedly with an eye to getting a share of Turkey's planned substantial investments in such areas as energy, transportation and nuclear power plants, Merkel will try to see how the land lies. Merkel is also expected to ask for more Turkish support for the improvement of A400 military cargo planes. While Merkel will prioritize the economy during her talks with top Turkish officials, Erdogan is expected to highlight political relations between the two countries, relaying the country's expectations from Germany on its European Union accession bid as well as urging visa exemptions for Turkish nationals traveling to Europe. Despite a European Court of Justice ruling last year which paved the way for Turkish businesspeople providing services in EU member states, athletes, artists, scientists and drivers to enter the EU without having to obtain visas, Germany is dragging its feet on implementing the ruling, and is continuing to demand visa exemption documents from Turkish nationals in those categories. Merkel will be reminded of this situation, and will be urged to do whatever is necessary to solve the visa problems of Turkish visitors to Germany. In a recent interview with German weekly Die Zeit, Erdogan again dismissed "privileged partnership" proposals by Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, saying that EU treaties do not recognize such proposals. "We are continuing negotiations with the EU for the purpose of full membership. There is no other choice," he said.