Published On: Fri, Jan 24th, 2020

Merkel’s Turkish delights: Erdogan showers German chancellor with gifts as the two meet in Istanbul (PHOTOS)

Hosting Angela Merkel in Istanbul, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a charm offensive of sorts, presenting her with a set of luxury antique gifts that she seemed visibly pleased to receive.

Merkel and Erdogan briefly met in Istanbul on Friday to discuss tough issues such as migration from the Middle East to Europe and Turkey’s bid to join the EU. The pair took a short break from affairs of state later in the day to inaugurate a Turkish-German University (TAU) campus in Istanbul.

But the ceremony turned out to be far more eye-catching than similar events held elsewhere in the world as the Turkish hosts went beyond the conventional ribbon-cutting.

© Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

Greeting Merkel at the stage, Erdogan presented her with a luxury mirror and a helmet, said to symbolize strength and wealth.

© Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

The chancellor smiled upon seeing the helmet and seemed more than happy to receive the mirror, holding it up to view her reflection.

© Ahmed Deeb/Pool via Reuters

The atmosphere seemed so warm, and Turkish hospitality so appealing, that it seems hard to believe that the German and Turkish leaders traded insults just a year or two ago.

© Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

In 2016 and 2017, Erdogan notoriously attacked Merkel for her uncompromising stance on Turkey’s accession to the EU, her negative criticism of Turkish democracy, and Ankara’s crackdown against the opposition.

He didn’t hold back, calling her “a terrorist supporter,” even going as far as to liken her policies to that of Nazi Germany, earning a furious rebuke from Berlin.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan
Merkel and Erdogan’s smiles hide tough times ahead: What can we expect from EU-Turkey talks?

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