Berlin, 18 November 2023 (TDI): Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz set to extend a warm welcome to Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday, amidst a complex phase in their bilateral ties. This is the first visit to Germany by the Turkish president since 2020.
Berlin and Ankara have often sparred over the years, but the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas in October has placed the two firmly on opposing sides. Olaf Scholz has backed Israel with military support.
Erdogan, whose country broadly backs the Palestinians, has accused Israel of acting like a “terrorist” state in its war against Hamas.
Germany, burdened by Holocaust memories, faces the challenge of managing a leader who doubts the Israeli state’s legitimacy.
Erdogan’s visit to Berlin expected to be low key. Erdogan scheduled to arrive in Germany at approximately noon, where he will meet his counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
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Previously, Hamas’s attack on Israel on 7 October, resulted in the loss of 1,400 lives, Erdogan presented himself as a potential mediator. Two days before his visit, Erdogan called Israel a “terrorist state”, accusing the West of “openly supporting the massacres” in Gaza.
A week ago, he questioned the state of Israel’s legitimacy and accused of fascism. Scholz stated these statements as “false” and stood up for the “democratic nation” of Israel in opposition to the Hamas.
Certain Jewish associations have urged to cancel the visit, which had been scheduled for several months. The chancellor extended the invitation to him following his re-election in May.
Germany has no interest in quarrelling with Erdogan due to the country’s improved relationship and the large Turkish population in Germany. Germany needs Erdogan to renew the migrant agreement, as Europe is facing a new influx of migrants.
Despite his authoritarianism, Erdogan’s influence and role in geopolitical matters make him important to Germany. Western powers also recognize Turkey’s role in preventing conflict in the Middle East, making dialogue urgent.