Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz expressed deep differences over the war between Israel and Hamas on Friday as the Turkish chief made a short and long-awaited go to to Berlin.
Erdogan was invited to go to Germany months in the past after his re-election, however current weeks have been marked by discomfort in Berlin over his more and more strident stance towards Israel.
Turkey has lengthy been thought of a clumsy however important associate in Germany, the place greater than 3 million folks with Turkish roots stay. It can be an essential NATO ally in efforts to regulate the circulation of refugees and migrants to Europe, a difficulty over which Scholz faces intense home strain, however there have been frequent tensions lately.
More lately, a chasm has opened up between international locations’ positions on the occasions following the October 7 Hamas assault on Israel.
Germany is a staunch ally of Israel and has resisted requires a ceasefire, whereas at the identical time pushing for help to civilians in Gaza, advocating “humanitarian pauses” and looking for to maintain open channels of communication with different international locations in the area to stop the battle from spreading.
Erdogan this week referred to as Israel a “terrorist state” intent on destroying Gaza and all its residents. He described Hamas militants as “resistance fighters” attempting to guard their lands and their folks. Hamas is taken into account a terrorist group by Israel, the United States and the European Union.
These and related feedback have upset politicians throughout the spectrum in Germany. Scholz described Erdogan’s accusations towards Israel as “absurd”.
“It is no secret that we have, in part, very different opinions on the current conflict,” Scholz stated in a brief press convention along with Erdogan earlier than the talks. But “especially in difficult times, we must speak to each other directly”.
“The Hamas attack means that Israel must protect itself and be able to defend itself,” he stated. “It cannot continue to happen that a terrorist organization that governs this region undertakes such activities again and again from there with incredible military force. This must stop, and this is a goal that must be supported – we do it, in any case”.
At the identical time, Scholz stated it was essential to “do everything to keep the number of civilian casualties as low as possible” and burdened that “the suffering of the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza also depresses us.”
Scholz stated Turkey and Germany shared fears of a wider “conflagration” in the area and would focus on the right way to forestall it.
While Scholz once more advocated repeated “pauses” in the combating, Erdogan stated: “If we can establish a humanitarian ceasefire together with Germany, we will have the opportunity to save the region from this ring of fire.”
“To date, 13,000 Palestinian children, women and elderly people have been killed,” he stated. “There is almost no place called Gaza anymore, everything has been destroyed.”
Erdogan stated Germany can’t criticize Israel due to the Holocaust.
“I converse freely as a result of we owe nothing to Israel. If we had been in debt, we couldn’t converse so freely,” she stated. “Those who’re in debt can’t converse freely. We didn’t expertise the Holocaust and we’re not in such a scenario.”
Israel recalled its diplomats from Turkey final month after Erdogan accused Israel of committing war crimes. Turkey subsequently additionally recalled its ambassador from Israel.
Another potential supply of stress emerged forward of Friday’s go to, when Turkish Defense Minister Yasar Guler stated Turkey plans to purchase 40 Eurofighter Typhoon jets, however Germany is stopping the sale of German-made warplanes, United Kingdom, Spain and Italy.
Guler instructed members of the Turkish parliament’s protection committee that Spain and the United Kingdom had been in favor of promoting the planes to Turkey and had been working to influence Germany.
“Germany can sell them or not sell them,” Erdogan stated on Friday. “Is Germany the only country that produces warplanes? We can get it from many other places.”
Scholz didn’t deal with the concern and different German officers had no rapid remark.