Erdoğan visit to Germany will be ‘challenging,’ Berlin says
The German government is sticking to its plans to receive Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Berlin despite his anti-Israeli stance, according to a government spokesman.
“We always have difficult partners with whom we have to deal,” spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said in Berlin on Monday.
The German position towards Israel is rock solid and Chancellor Olaf Scholz will also “make this very clear” in talks with the Turkish president, Hebestreit said.
Erdoğan is coming to Berlin on Friday. In addition to the chancellor, he will meet German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Following the terrorist attack on Israel, which left around 1,200 dead, Erdoğan called the Islamist Hamas “a liberation organization.”
In his own words, he broke off contact with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In view of Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip, which has killed over 11,000 civilians so far, Erdogan spoke of “fascism.”
Turkey is an important factor in a whole range of issues, said Hebestreit. The aim was to make progress on these issues. Under the current circumstances, the visit will be “challenging.”
Markus Söder, the leader of a conservative opposition party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), called on Scholz to negotiate a new agreement with Turkey to reduce the number of refugees that come to Germany.
“We expect the chancellor to be clear with the Turkish president during his upcoming visit, clear on the matter, but also clear on the results,” Söder, who is also Bavaria’s state premier, said on Monday.
The hard-left Die Linke party criticized the planned visit.
Erdoğan has “a history of supporting terror” in Syria and the Middle East and is suppressing the democratic opposition at home, said party leader Martin Schirdewan in Berlin on Monday.