Problems with Germany nothing personal, says Turkish President Erdoğan
ANKARAPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has blasted Berlin for barring him from holding a public event with Turkish citizens in German on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, while stressing that he has “no problems” with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Erdoğan told the Die Zeit weekly that Germany was “committing suicide” by not letting him speak to Turks in the country and it “must correct this mistake.”
However, he also said Germany and Turkey needed each other and on a personal level he has no problem with Merkel.
“I don’t have a problem with the chancellor. At the NATO summit, I met and spoke with Ms. Merkel. We will also have face-to-face meetings. We will address many issues. I will address the terror problem, the ways in which Europe can approach this problem, and what we as NATO countries are doing. There is no animosity between the chancellor and myself. The chancellor hasn’t made any statements about it, but unfortunately her coalition partners have,” Erdoğan said.
He also stated that as long as Germany did not send supporters of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of masterminding the failed July 15, 2016 military coup attempt, back to Turkey, Ankara would view Germany as a place that “protects terrorists.”
Ties between Turkey and Germany have once again become stained ahead of Erdoğan’s visit to the country for the G-20 Summit, after remarks from both the German government and the opposition.
Although Erdoğan’s address to the Turkish community in Germany during his visit is “not on his official schedule yet,” Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel’s statement that such a gathering would “not be a good idea” raised tension between both countries. Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Martin Schulz also said he “did not want Erdoğan to hold big rallies” in Germany.
Turkish Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın on June 29 described such statements as “provocative and malevolent.”
A similar issue had turned into a bitter row between the two allies ahead of Turkey’s controversial April 16 constitutional referendum in, which eventually resulted in a narrow “yes” win that introduced an executive presidential system.
Merkel will hold talks with Erdoğan on the sidelines of a summit of G-20 starting on July 7, her spokesman said on July 5.
The spokesman also said Merkel would discuss the Ukraine crisis with French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Erdoğan is also scheduled to meet with Putin during the summit.