BERLIN: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to visit Berlin on Friday for a brief trip to Germany, where the deep divergence in stances on the Israel-Hamas conflict becomes evident.
Erdogan is scheduled to meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Germany’s largely ceremonial president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, following an invitation extended by Scholz in May after Erdogan’s re-election.
Turkey, seen as both an awkward and essential partner in Germany, home to over 3 million people with Turkish roots, has become crucial in controlling the flow of refugees and migrants to Europe. However, recent years have witnessed tensions between the two nations on various issues. The visit is overshadowed by a widening gap in their positions following Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7.
Germany, a staunch ally of Israel, has resisted calls for a cease-fire and advocated for humanitarian aid to Gaza. The country has been pushing for “humanitarian pauses” and aims to keep communication channels open with other regional players to prevent the conflict from escalating. Meanwhile, Erdogan has taken an increasingly assertive stance against Israel. On Wednesday, he labeled Israel as a “terrorist state” with intentions to annihilate Gaza and its residents. Erdogan characterized Hamas militants as “resistance fighters” defending their lands. Germany’s political spectrum has expressed dismay over Erdogan’s comments, with Scholz emphasizing the need for clarity during his talks with Erdogan. Israel had recalled its diplomats from Turkey last month after Erdogan accused Israel of war crimes, prompting Turkey to reciprocate by recalling its ambassador from Israel.”