King Charles III to Speak to German Parliament, Meet Scholz

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomes Britain's King Charles III at the chancellery in Berlin, Thursday, March 30, 2023. King Charles III arrived Wednesday for a three-day official visit to Germany. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomes Britain's King Charles III at the chancellery in Berlin, Thursday, March 30, 2023. King Charles III arrived Wednesday for a three-day official visit to Germany. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
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King Charles III to Speak to German Parliament, Meet Scholz

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomes Britain's King Charles III at the chancellery in Berlin, Thursday, March 30, 2023. King Charles III arrived Wednesday for a three-day official visit to Germany. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomes Britain's King Charles III at the chancellery in Berlin, Thursday, March 30, 2023. King Charles III arrived Wednesday for a three-day official visit to Germany. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Britain's King Charles III met German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and is preparing to become the first monarch to speak before Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, on Thursday as part of a high-profile visit aimed at bolstering ties between the two European powers.

Charles, 74, is on his first foreign trip since becoming king. He and Camilla, the queen consort, arrived in Berlin on Wednesday. Crowds of well-wishers and Germany's head of state, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, greeted the couple at the capital’s iconic Brandenburg Gate. They later attended a banquet in their honor at the presidential palace, The Associated Press said.

Pomp and royal glamour aside, the three-day visit has a decidedly political purpose. The British government is trying to mend frayed ties with its continental partners following the painful process that preceded and followed the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union.

The fallout from Brexit has been considerable: Britain's departure from the EU's common market has resulted in trade barriers and labor shortages, and locked the country out of key European science programs. By devoting special attention to the EU's two biggest powers — France and Germany — Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hopes to normalize relations with the 27-nation bloc.

Charles originally planned to stop in France first, but anti-government protests there delayed that part of his trip. That put the focus on Germany, where the British royal family has long enjoyed curiosity and admiration.

Not all were enamored by the visit, however. Jan Korte, a lawmaker with the opposition Left party, said it wasn't in keeping with Germany's democratic tradition to have Charles address the country's highest political body, the Bundestag.

“A king isn't elected,” Korte told public broadcaster ZDF. “He can obviously speak everywhere and is very welcome, including by me, but I think that particularly in the Bundestag, which is about representing the people, it's not really appropriate to have a monarch speak.”

After his speech, Charles and Camilla are scheduled to meet with refugees and British and German military personnel before visiting an organic farm outside of Berlin. They plan to be in Hamburg on Friday.



Erdogan Dampens Hopes for Restarting Talks on Cyprus' 50-year Ethnic Split

A handout photo made available by the Turkish President Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front-L) and Turkish Cyprus President Ersin Tatar (front-R) laying wreath to monument of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during their meeting in the Turkish-administered northern part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, 15 November 2020. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT
A handout photo made available by the Turkish President Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front-L) and Turkish Cyprus President Ersin Tatar (front-R) laying wreath to monument of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during their meeting in the Turkish-administered northern part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, 15 November 2020. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT
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Erdogan Dampens Hopes for Restarting Talks on Cyprus' 50-year Ethnic Split

A handout photo made available by the Turkish President Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front-L) and Turkish Cyprus President Ersin Tatar (front-R) laying wreath to monument of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during their meeting in the Turkish-administered northern part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, 15 November 2020. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT
A handout photo made available by the Turkish President Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front-L) and Turkish Cyprus President Ersin Tatar (front-R) laying wreath to monument of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during their meeting in the Turkish-administered northern part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, 15 November 2020. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT

The Turkish president on Saturday put a damper on hopes for a quick resumption of talks to heal a half-century of ethnic division on Cyprus, reaffirming his support for a two-state deal that Greek Cypriots dismiss as a non-starter.

Speaking ahead of a military parade to mark the 50th anniversary of a Turkish invasion that split the island along ethnic lines, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ruled out a peace deal based on a United Nations-endorsed plan for federation.

Although Erdogan has previously rejected the federation plan, Greece and the Greek Cypriots had hoped he would soften his position.

The anniversary is a festive occasion for Turkish Cypriots in the island's northern third, who view the invasion as salvation from the Greek-speaking majority's domination. The invasion followed a coup that aimed at a union with Greece, which was backed by the Junta then ruling in Athens, according to The AP.

In the south, the howl of air raid sirens at daybreak began a solemn day marking what Greek Cypriots remember as a catastrophe that left thousands of people dead or missing and displaced a quarter of the Greek Cypriot population.

Erdogan’s remarks may further complicate UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ effort to get both sides back to the negotiating table. His personal envoy, Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar, has spent the past six months scoping both sides out.

“We will continue to fight with determination for the recognition of the TRNC (breakaway Turkish Cypriot state) and the implementation of a two-state solution," Erdogan told throngs of Turkish Cypriots lining the parade route in scorching heat in the northern half of the divided capital, Nicosia.

“A federal solution in Cyprus is not possible, this is what we believe. ... The Turkish Cypriot side, as equals with the Greek side, are willing to negotiate and are ready to sit down and negotiate. If you want a solution, you need to recognize the rights of Turkish Cypriots."

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar reiterated that Turkish Cypriots reject “domination” by the Greek Cypriot majority and seek “equal national status” for their breakaway state they unilaterally declared in 1983, which is only recognized by Turkey. He added that there's now “no common ground” for a return to peace negotiations.

Referring to a recent resolution in the Ankara parliament calling for a two-state solution, Tatar said it “will help us and our cause incredibly.”

The island's Greek Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides urged Türkiye and the Turkish Cypriots to re-engage in reunification talks if Ankara genuinely seeks regional security and stability and to nudge closer to the European Union.

After numerous failed rounds of peace negotiations, many Cypriots on both sides — although jaded — still hold out a glimmer of hope for a peace deal.