This is an instant follow-up to the article about the teachers’ union. If there is a way to score this, I’d say that Erdogan threw a tantrum, then played nice at the meeting and this one-two punch got Merkel to take a half-step back.
From Sueddeutsche Zeitung on March 29, 2010:
A Little Peace- - - - - - - - -
by Stefan Braun, Ankara
Chancellor Angela Merkel has shown that she is open to Turkish schools in Germany. “If Germany has schools for foreigners in other countries, then naturally Turkey can have schools in Germany,” Merkel said on Monday in Ankara after a talk with Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They would just have to be bilingual.
Turkish schools must in no case be used as an excuse not to learn German, she said. Like Erdogan, she is not concerned about assimilation but about successful integration. “And on that we agree,” said the chancellor. Erdogan said that Turkish citizens in Germany naturally want to preserve their culture but also to integrate.
After their first meeting and after the critical comments of past days, Erdogan and Merkel exerted themselves to represent Turkish-German connection as good, dependable and trustworthy. In spite of contrasting views in the debate about Turkish high schools in Germany, possible sanctions against Iran and the question of full Turkish membership in the EU, Merkel and Erdogan emphasized that relations between the two countries are excellent.
Erdogan spoke of “friends and allies” and of being “very important for one another,” and that their deeply rooted relationship could be a model for other EU states. Merkel praised the “close and friendly relations” between the two countries. The German delegation had previously described the relationship between Merkel and Erdogan as very good.
Concerning the nuclear dispute with Iran, Erdogan rejected sanctions proposed by Merkel. There must be further diplomatic negotiations with the Iranian leadership, he said. Previous sanctions have proven futile. “Are there nuclear weapons in the area? Yes! Are there sanctions? No!” said Erdogan, referring to Israeli nuclear weapons.
Before Merkel’s two-day visit, the tone had been getting sharper. Erdogan especially had been quoted issuing strong attacks, including personal ones on Merkel. There was talk of “hate” against Turks and of whether Turkey had become a “whipping boy.” Previously, Merkel had rejected Erdogan’s call for more Turkish high schools as she had Ankara’s demand for full membership in EU. With respect to schools, in her briefcase she had a full list of primary schools and high schools where Turkish is taught.
With reference to the Turkish demand for EU membership, Merkel said she had learned that the concept of a privileged partnership which the CDU and CSU preferred as a substitute for full membership had not “gotten good vibes” in Turkey. Merkel promised that negotiations would continue with options open, and should concentrate first on a solution to the Cyprus question.