Although Turkey and Germany still remain at odds over the former's European Union (EU) membership bid, they agree to boost economic ties during a recent visit of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Germany. Earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed reservations over Turkey's EU membership bid in a meeting with Erdogan in Berlin. "Germany, just like France, is not favoring full EU membership for Turkey. Merkel has always advocated the idea of 'privileged membership' for Turkey," Turkish foreign policy expert Sami Kohen said. Privileged membership is a term referring to a halfway measure that falls short of full membership, a notion that has been rejected by Turkey. Merkel always said that Turkey should first solve its domestic issues for further progress, referring to two major incidents that have shaken Turkey, including Turkish government's handling of anti-government protests last year over a controversial urban project in Gezi Park in Istanbul and the recent corruption scandal. TRADE TIES STILL PROMISING However, despite political differences, Turkey and Germany have a booming trade and business relations. Turkey and Germany had a trade volume of 35.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2012. In the first 11 months of 2013, the latest available figure, according to Turkish statistics, is 34.3 billion dollars. "Erdogan has a love-hate relationship with the EU," Yavuz Baydar, a Turkish expert on EU affairs, said. Another purpose of Turkish prime minister's visit is seemingly to attract expatriates votes in Germany for the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey. Some three million ethnic Turks living in Germany is another sensitive issue between the two countries. Erdogan once again expressed his refusal of German assimilation policies for Turks living in Germany and supported integration policies. In response, Merkel said that Germany has no aim of assimilating foreign communities. Turks in Germany will be able to cast ballots from abroad for the first time after Turkey changed its electoral law in 2012. Besides above issues, Erdogan and Merkel also discussed a number of regional issues including fighting against terrorism and the Syrian conflict, according to Turkish media.