In Türkiye, the agenda is currently influenced by international developments.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s criticisms of the West and Israel during his visit to Germany became the first topic last week.
The remarks on “world order” by Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan also stood out as one of the discussed topics.
Meanwhile, the Turkish people rejoiced in the national football team’s victory over Germany.
Erdoğan in Germany: “Here I will talk clearly and frankly”
President Erdoğan visited Germany to address the bilateral relations with his counterpart Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Prior to his one-on-one meeting with Scholz, Erdoğan’s statement on the ongoing Palestine-Israel War sparked great reactions, both for and against. Erdoğan began by saying “Here I will talk clearly and frankly”:
“Everyone is talking about the 7th October, but no one about what happened after that. As of now, 13,000 Palestinian children, women and elderly have been killed,” he said. “There is almost no place named Gaza anymore, everything has been destroyed. Hamas, Hamas, Hamas… Are the military capabilities of Hamas and Israel comparable? Does Israel have nuclear weapon? Yes. However if you ask that to Israel you don’t get the answer yes. They are very adept at using deception. A certain amount of financial support is currently being discussed. So, is such financial support being provided to Hamas? No. Even the necessary support that should be given to Palestine itself is also not provided.”
Erdoğan, then, implied that Germany’s stance on towards Israel is still determined “psychology of indebtedness”:
“You cannot justify none of this with the Torah. You cannot do this. Nor you can do it according to the Declaration of Human Rights. But in Gaza, how are these children being shot? How are they being killed in hospitals? Are we going to stand idly? Will we not raise our voices against it? We will be held accountable for this in future.
Therefore, we should not assess the Israel-Palestine war with a psychology of indebtedness. Look at how free I am speaking. Because we don’t owe anything to Israel. If we were in debt, we could not speak so freely. But those who are in debt cannot speak freely. We did not go through the Holocaust. And we are not in such a situation because our respect for human beings is very different. I am a leader who took a stance on anti-Semitism for the first time during my term as prime minister. No prime minister in the world has taken this stance. But I did, way back then. Because of this, we owe no one.
Erdoğan also made a proposition on the ceasefire process:
“One week later, Mr. Steinmeier is going to Israel. I requested from him. I said, let’s share the responsibility to achieve this humanitarian ceasefire. If we take this step and manage to provide such a humanitarian ceasefire together, Germany and Türkiye, and others, we can have the opportunity to rescue the region from this ring of fire.
Some talk about exchanging hostages. Okay, we are open to that as well. However, when you talk about hostages, what is the number of hostages in Israel and in the hands of Hamas or Palestine? Israel has far more hostages in terms of numbers. For years. If we don’t see this fact, it would be unfair.”
After Erdoğan’s statement, a journalist asked:
“Following the terrorist attacks on Israel by Hamas, your statements have caused concern not only in Germany but also among the NATO member states. Do you recognize Israel’s right to exist? You said that Israel is a ‘fascist state’. What justification do you have for this? Why do you call ‘genocide’ the Israeli army’s operations on Hamas? How can you describe a ‘liberation organization’ an organization which is recognized as a terrorist organization by the entire NATO alliance and which has murdered hundreds of people in Israel? Are you jeopardizing Turkish-German relations and cooperation within NATO? Türkiye is demanding 40 Eurofighters for the defense industry. Will Germany accept this?”
Erdoğan’s response was harsh. He first emphasized “Türkiye’s importance” and then said “You can’t threaten us”:
“Firstly, Türkiye is one of the leading countries in NATO, a country in the top 5. Türkiye is not an ordinary country in NATO. It is in the top 5. At the moment, all NATO countries are siding with Ukraine. As Türkiye, we are in talks with both Ukraine and Russia. We do not make any distinction between them. We were the ones who provided the transition of 33 million tons of grain to Europe and Africa. Thousands of Palestinians have been killed by Israel. Its army its hospitals and churches. As a Muslim, I am disturbed by this. Well, as a Christian, are you not disturbed by the shooting of churches? Why don’t you take a stand against that? For us, at this point, there should be no distinction between Jews, Christians and Muslims in the region. If there was a struggle against anti-Semitism, I was the first leader in the world to give this struggle. And right now, look, Germany is talking about ‘giving so much financial support to Israel’.”
“Germany can sell them or not sell them. Is Germany the only country that produces warplanes? We can procure these from many other places. Türkiye has become one of the leading countries in terms of unmanned combat aircraft. As a member of the press, don’t threaten us with this. Ask us conscientious and humanitarian questions and we will give you the answers in that way.”
Foreign Minister Fidan: “Our goal is to act collectively against Israel”
In the interview with Al Jazeera, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan made significant statements. Criticizing the support of the US to Israel, Fidan said “This time, our goal is to act collectively against Israel”:
“Before the war, there was an atmosphere of normalization in the region. It became evident after October 7th that nothing had changed in the Palestinian cause. Currently, there is a siege in Gaza based on the use of force. Muslim countries should work to solve this problem using all diplomatic means. Egypt is trying to do its best to deliver aid. However, there are various sensitivities, including issues that need to be coordinated with Israel. Our goal is to act collectively against Israel this time. The important thing is to make decisions and exert pressure together.”
Hakan Fidan also explained the details of his meeting with US Secretary of State Blinken:
“I said to Blinken: ‘You should react when Palestinians are killed, just as you do when Israelis are killed. Double standards show that the world system is in collapse. If you don’t distance yourselves from Israel, which indiscriminately targets everyone, including women and children – and currently, you’re not distancing yourselves – this means a bigger crisis for the whole world. One of the issues we cannot agree with Americans on is their unconditional support for Israel and their reluctance to call for a ceasefire. I spoke very openly with Blinken. We support a complete ceasefire. I said to Blinken that we do not accept the eviction of the population in Gaza.'”
Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan also responded to the question “Why did Türkiye act relatively late in boycotting Israel and recalling its Israel ambassador?”:
“We made a principal decision in managing this crisis: Take actions together with other brotherly countries. Instead of making and implementing decisions on our own, let’s come together with other Muslim countries, regional countries, even Latin American countries, African countries, and if possible, some European countries… We brought up this issue starting from the first Extraordinary Meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Executive Committee, and we saw that various countries began to take these actions. So, we did it too.”
Fidan stated that Türkiye has a single perspective on the post-war situation in Gaza:
“We do not see the question of who will govern Gaza as accurate one without first reaching a two-state solution. Gaza was already being governed before the war, and it can continue to govern itself now. Gaza has no problem with it. The problem for Gaza is that it is under occupation and the destruction of its infrastructure and superstructure. Currently, we believe the issue is not about the governance of Gaza but about its protection.”
Turkish National Football Team defeats Germany
In the friendly match played in Berlin, Türkiye defeated Germany with a score of 3-2.
In a preparation match for EURO 2024, Türkiye, which had already secured a place in the finals, was hosted by Germany at the Berlin Olympic Stadium.
The goals for Türkiye came from Kenan Yıldız, Yusuf Sarı, and Ferdi Kadıoğlu. Germany’s goals were scored by Kai Havertz and Fülkrug.
Türkiye’s win received extensive coverage in the German press. Bild newspaper featured the headline “Night of disappointment in Berlin” for the match.
The news highlighted that 208 days before EURO 2024 to be held in Germany, German National Team coach Julian Nagelsmann experienced his first defeat at his first home match.