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Scholz and Erdogan display their differences on the Israel-Hamas conflict

The German and Turkish leaders have stated Friday their disagreements on the conflict in the Middle East, Berlin affirming Israel's right to to defend themselves while Recep Tayyip Erdogan once again demanded the immediate end of the Israeli bombings.

Israel's “right to exist” is “irrefutable,” Olaf Scholz said during a press conference with the Turkish president, who recently appeared to question the legitimacy of the Jewish state.

These remarks, which Mr. Erdogan did not repeat in Berlin, shocked Germany, which elevated its existence to the rank of “reason of state” given its responsibility for the Shoah.

For his first visit to Germany since 2020, he first spoke with Head of State Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The latter also forcefully reaffirmed the German position according to which Israel has the right “to defend itself” after the deadly attack on October 7 by Hamas, which left 1,200 dead, the vast majority of them civilians, according to Israeli authorities.

– “Not in the Torah” –

Erdogan posed as a mediator in the first days of the conflict triggered by the Hamas massacres in Israel

Scholz and Erdogan display their differences on the Israel-Hamas conflict

The German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (d) receives his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on November 17, 2023 at Bellevue Palace, in Berlin © AFP – Odd ANDERSEN

But he then took up the cause of the movement Islamist over the massive bombings launched in response by the Israeli army against the Gaza Strip.

In Berlin, he again urged Israel to “immediately” stop its attacks which have left 12,000 dead in Gaza, mainly civilians, according to Hamas.

“Bombing hospitals or killing children is not not in the Torah. You can't do that,” he said.

Mr. Erdogan has denied any anti-Semitic connotation in his criticism of Israel. “For us, there should be no discrimination between Jews, Christians and Muslims in the region. I am the first to lead the fight against anti-Semitism in the world,” he said.

< p>While recognizing the dramatic humanitarian situation for civilians in Gaza, Mr. Scholz stressed that Hamas was primarily responsible because it uses them “as human shields.”

“For a prospect of lasting peace”, Hamas “must no longer be able to carry out acts of aggression like that of October 7”, said the chancellor.

Scholz and Erdogan display their differences on the Israel-Hamas conflict

The German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (d) welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the Chancellery, November 17, 2023 in Berlin © AFP – Odd ANDERSEN

Despite the differences, Erdogan and Scholz showed civility, the Chancellor welcoming him in particular with a big smile.

Many had feared an outburst during the press conference. Mr. Erdogan had described Israel as a “terrorist state” shortly before going to Berlin.

He also judged that the legitimacy of the State of Israel was “questioned because of its own fascism”, comments which shocked Germany.

Olaf Scholz called them “absurd” this week.

Voices, particularly from Jewish associations or the opposition, were raised to demand the postponement or cancellation of his visit, planned for several months. The chancellor invited him after his re-election in May.

– Essential interlocutor –

If Mr. Erdogan has retained his very authoritarian line adopted since the attempted putsch against his government in 2016, his increased influence at the geopolitical level nevertheless makes him a essential contact for Berlin.

In the war in Ukraine, launched on February 24, 2022 by Russia, he was notably an architect of the agreement guaranteeing the export of Ukrainian cereals via the Black Sea, before Moscow denounced it this summer.

< p>Scholz and Erdogan display their differences on the Israel-Hamas conflict

the head of German diplomacy Annalena Baerbock, November 16, 2023 in Berlin © AFP – Odd ANDERSEN

Western powers believe it has a role to play in avoiding a flare-up of the conflict in the Middle East and the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, which, according to the head of German diplomacy Annalena Baerbock, makes the even “more important and more urgent” dialogue.

Germany, like the EU as a whole, also needs him to renew the pact signed in 2016 in order to contain the arrival of migrants, while Europe is experiencing a new wave of arrivals from Afghanistan or Syria. This is fueling – particularly in Germany – a surge in the far right in opinion polls.

The Turkish president could, for his part, mention this during the talks with the chancellor, which were to continue in the evening during a dinner, the planned purchase of 40 Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft.

Great Britain and Spain are in favor and are trying to “convince” Germany, involved in its production and whose agreement is essential, the Turkish Defense Minister said on Thursday< /p> All reproduction and representation rights reserved. © (2023) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116