Wrapping up his long-awaited, three-day controversial visit to Germany, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, before returning to Turkey, said in Cologne, “Grace to God Almighty, we have achieved a very productive, a very successful visit. In our talks with [President Frank-Walter] Steinmeier and [Chancellor Angela] Merkel, we covered the issues of common interest in frankness. I emphasized that, putting aside our differences of opinion, we have to focus on our common interests. We will enhance our cooperation in every field, ranging from the struggle against terrorist organizations to the refugee crisis, from conflict to trade wars.”
Thousands of protesters in Berlin and Cologne, many of them Kurdish or Alevi Turks resident in Germany, took the streets under heavy security measures, displaying their outrage about his autocratic rule and violations of human rights and basic freedoms in Turkey. In Berlin, all the roads leading to the famous Hotel Adlon Kempinski — a stone's throw away from the Brandenburg Gate, the national symbol of Germany at the heart of the city — were cordoned off with sharpshooters placed on rooftops. The demonstrators in the nearby Potsdamer Platz carried banners, with the slogan “You are not welcome.” Such banners also were raised in other parts of Berlin and Cologne.