German Chancellor Angela Merkel will not take part in the first-ever official state banquet to be hosted for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan here, German media reported on Monday.
As Xinhua agency reported, Merkel would not attend the event hosted by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at his official residence of Bellevue palace.
Although the Turkish leader has already visited Germany dozens of times in his official function as prime minister and president, his current visit marks the first time he has been offered full military honors, as well as a state banquet.
Merkel reportedly justified her absence by saying she already has two lengthy meetings scheduled with Erdogan during his two-day visit from Sept. 27 to 29. However, German media interpreted the decision as a further sign of lasting strains in the traditionally close relationship between Berlin and Ankara.