Erdogan to pay state visit to Germany in September

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will pay a state visit to Germany on 28-29 September, a spokeswoman for German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Tuesday, amid efforts to improves ties strained by a number of disputes. The two fellow members of NATO have differed over many issues related to the Turkey's post-coup crackdown.

The spokeswoman did not say if Erdogan would also hold talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel's office declined to comment. A state visit would include a reception by Steinmeier with military honours and a formal state banquet.

The German and Turkish foreign ministers vowed earlier this year to do everything to improve relations. Their resolve led to the release in February of a German-Turkish journalist who had been held in Turkey for a year for alleged security offences. His release fulfilled a key demand by Germany, which still takes issue with what it calls Turkey's deteriorating record on human rights.

The Turkish government has purged more than 150,000 civil servants and charged 77,000 people since the failed coup. It has also launched cross-border operations into Syria against what it says are terrorist threats by the Kurdish YPG militia, which it deems a terrorist organization linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Rights groups and Turkey's Western allies have criticised the crackdown, saying Erdogan has used the coup as a pretext to muzzle dissent. The government says the measures are necessary.

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