Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s anticipated visit to Berlin has highlighted deep disagreements with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz over the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. Despite being invited months ago, Erdogan’s recent outspoken stance against Israel has caused discomfort in Berlin.
Germany, home to over 3 million people with Turkish roots, considers Turkey an important but sometimes challenging partner. The NATO ally plays a crucial role in managing refugee and migrant flows to Europe, an issue under intense domestic pressure for Scholz.
Recent tensions have escalated due to differing views on events following Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel. Germany staunchly supports Israel, opposing calls for a ceasefire while advocating for humanitarian aid to Gaza civilians and maintaining communication channels to prevent further conflict in the region.
Erdogan, however, labeled Israel a “terrorist state” seeking to destroy Gaza, portraying Hamas militants as “resistance fighters.” Germany, along with Israel, the United States, and the European Union, designates Hamas as a terrorist organization.
Such comments have alarmed German politicians, with Scholz deeming Erdogan’s accusations against Israel as “absurd.” At a joint news conference, Scholz acknowledged the divergent views but emphasized the need for direct communication during challenging moments.
While supporting Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas attacks, Scholz stressed the importance of minimizing civilian casualties and expressed concern for the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza. Both leaders acknowledged shared fears of a broader regional conflict and discussed ways to prevent it.
Erdogan proposed establishing a humanitarian ceasefire with Germany to halt the “ring of fire” in the region. He criticized Germany’s perceived inability to criticize Israel, suggesting it stemmed from historical reasons related to the Holocaust.
The strained diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel were further strained last month when both countries recalled their diplomats. Additionally, tension arose over Turkey’s plan to purchase 40 Eurofighter Typhoon jets, with Erdogan stating that Germany is not the sole producer of warplanes.
As the leaders navigate these complex issues, the Berlin meeting underscores the challenges in reconciling divergent perspectives on the Israel-Hamas conflict.