German president arrives in Istanbul with 60-kilo kebab skewer

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (R) and Ekrem Imamoglu, Mayor of Istanbul, meet for talks at Istanbul Sirkeci station. President Steinmeier is on a three-day official visit to Turkey. The occasion of the trip is the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Germany and Turkey. Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (R) and Ekrem Imamoglu, Mayor of Istanbul, meet for talks at Istanbul Sirkeci station. President Steinmeier is on a three-day official visit to Turkey. The occasion of the trip is the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Germany and Turkey. Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa
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German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier arrived in Istanbul on Monday carrying a 60-kilo kebab skewer symbolizing stories of Turkish migration to Germany.

The owner of the snack bar that provided the kebab, Arif Keles, and several other guests travelled on the plane with the president.

"Someone from the Office of the Federal President called me, he wanted to come over for a coffee and told me about the idea of taking me along on the state visit. I just thought: What an honour!" Keles told news magazine Stern before the start of the trip.

After landing, he made his way to the German ambassador's summer residence, where he planned to serve his kebab to the guests at a reception that evening.

Other guests included Belit Onay, son of Turkish immigrants and mayor of Hanover since 2019, and the actor Adnan Maral, born in Eastern Anatolia, who came to Germany at the age of two and grew up in Frankfurt. Aydan Özoguz, vice president of the Bundestag, whose parents came from Istanbul in the early 1960s and settled in Hamburg as merchants, also travelled to Turkey.

The fact that Keles flew in with Steinmeier along with his kebab was also a topic of discussion in the Turkish media and mainly served as a treasure trove for headlines.

The newspaper Hürriyet, for example, wrote: "Surprise from Steinmeier: He comes to Turkey with 60 kilos of kebab." The online portal T24 commented: "Steinmeier's unusual visit - kebab and more." And the online medium Diken read: "Kebab diplomacy: German president in Turkey."

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier boards an aircraft (Airbus A350) of the Bundeswehr Air Wing at the military section of Berlin Brandenburg Airport to fly to Turkey for a three-day official visit. The occasion of the trip is the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Germany and Turkey. Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa