Turkey defiant in the face of Germany’s reaction against Erdoğan
Erdoğan called Özdemir a 'so-called Turk' and indicated he was no longer welcome in Turkey. DAILY NEWS PhotoPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s criticism of a leading Turkish-origin German politician is “natural,” because he used his “right to reply,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry has suggested.
Erdoğan’s “right to reply” came into question after Berlin expressed its “dismay” to the Turkish ambassador over disparaging remarks Erdoğan made about the German opposition leader.
Turkey’s Ambassador to Germany Hüseyin Avni Karslıoğlu had been “invited” to the German Foreign Ministry late May 28 “to express our dismay about comments from the Turkish government,” a German diplomatic source told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on May 30.
A statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry followed this disclosure, underlining the existing intense bilateral relations between the two countries have also been leading up to certain questions, as well as opportunities of cooperation.
“On this ground where policies mutually influence and shape each other, in the case of expressing views by a politician in Germany regarding discourses and policies of Turkish politicians, it is natural for Turkish politicians to use their right to reply,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç said in a written statement released late on May 31.
The spokesperson’s statement came in the form of an official response to a journalist’s question.
“Thinking that Turkish politicians will leave these criticisms unanswered through assuming a passive stance is not in line with a democratic approach,” Bilgiç concluded.
Amid heightened tensions between Ankara and Berlin, Erdoğan complained to deputies from his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on May 27 that the leader of the German Greens party of Turkish origin, Cem Özdemir, had said “very ugly things” about him.
Erdoğan called Özdemir a “so-called Turk” and indicated he was no longer welcome in Turkey after the critical comments he made regarding the rally the premier held in the western German city of Cologne on May 24.
“Particularly due to your origins, you have no right to talk this way about the prime minister of a country you belong to,” Erdoğan said, referring to Özdemir.
Özdemir had warned Erdoğan ahead of the event in Cologne that he should not bring internal disputes to Germany, in a reference to the bloody strife in Turkey.
“This type of public criticism of an important German politician, who has always worked in the interest of good relations between Germany and Turkey – including in the run-up to Prime Minister Erdoğan’s visit – is unhelpful for the German-Turkish relationship,” the German diplomatic source told AFP.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, stopped short of saying Karslıoğlu had been “summoned” to see the ministry’s political director, Hans-Dieter Lucas, which would be a more serious measure in the language of diplomacy.
Erdoğan roused cheering supporters with the May 24 speech in what was widely seen as a campaign rally in Germany, which has the world’s largest Turkish expatriate community.
Erdoğan is expected to run for Turkey’s presidency in August and Germany has a Turkish community of three million, half of them eligible voters.