German FM says he ‘cannot comprehend’ Turkish President Erdoğan’s remarks
ISTANBULGerman Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said he cannot comprehend Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks over the security situation in Germany.
“[I] cannot comprehend the comments made by Erdoğan about the security situation in Germany,” Germany’s Deutsche Welle quoted Steinmeier as saying on Nov. 3.
“Turkey is and will remain an important country in the region in relation to the crises in Syria and Iraq,” he said.
Hours before Steinmeier’s remarks, Erdoğan lashed out at German Chancellor Angela Merkel over her criticism of the detention of daily Cumhuriyet journalists, saying “Germany harbors terrorism.”
“They are giving us advice. But it is us who is concerned about your stance. You are aiding terror! That terror will hit you like a boomerang. We have no expectations from you, but you will be remembered by history for harboring terror,” Erdoğan said in a speech in Ankara on Nov. 3.
“We are concerned that Germany, which has been taking members of terrorist organizations such as the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK and the [Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front] DHKP-C under its protection, will now become a backyard of [the Fethullahist Terror Organization] FETÖ,” he added.
Erdoğan said that terror was like a scorpion, which would eventually bite the one who is carrying it.
“I don’t see a bright future for Germany. It has become a place where terrorists take refuge,” Erdoğan said.
Merkel on Nov. 2 said the Turkish authorities’ actions against freedom of opinion and the press were “highly alarming,” referring to the detention of senior staff, including Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabancu, columnists and a cartoonist from Cumhuriyet on Oct. 31.
“Though we wish to have a close and constructive relationship with Turkey, let us not mince words. From our point of view, there are reasons to be concerned about threats to freedom of the press and freedom of opinion,” and Germany will not be silent about it, Steinmeier said.
Relations between the two countries deteriorated after the German Bundestag passed a bill that described as “genocide” the killing of Anatolian Armenians during World War I.
Strained relations between Ankara and Berlin due to the Armenian bill worsened after Turkey rejected a German parliamentary delegation’s visit in late June to the base, which was solved after the German government assured Turkey that the Bundestag’s decision was not binding. The German lawmakers were later allowed to visit the base.
Germany also expressed concern over the post-July 15 coup attempt crackdowns in Turkey.