News & Politics

Germany Has Had Enough of Erdogan, Says Turkey Supports Terror Groups in the Middle East

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, is applauded by Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, following her speech during a roundtable meeting on "Political Leadership to Prevent and End Conflicts" at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Monday, May 23, 2016. World leaders and representatives of humanitarian organisations from across the globe converge in Istanbul on May 23-24, 2016 for the first World Humanitarian Summit, focused on how to reform a system many judge broken. (Ozan Kose/Pool Photo via AP)

In recent weeks, tensions between Germany and Turkey have increased significantly. The main reason: Turkey feels Germany didn’t sufficiently support the Erdogan regime during and after the failed military coup. At the same time, Berlin is concerned about President Erdogan’s far-reaching purges of all those who are accused of having ties to Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Apparently, Germany isn’t exactly willing to let bygones be bygones. In fact, Berlin is doubling down on its criticism of Turkey, accusing Ankara of actively supporting terror groups in the Middle East:

Turkey has worked with Islamist groups and has supported militant organizations in the Middle East for years, according to the German government, state broadcaster ARD reported Tuesday.

The view was expressed in a confidential response from the interior ministry to parliamentary questions from left-wing party Die Linke. The response was seen by ARD. The ministry added that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has actively supported cooperation with Islamist and terrorist organizations, such as Hamas.

In its statement, the ministry says:

The many expressions of solidarity and support actions for the Egyptian MB [Muslim Brotherhood], Hamas and the armed Islamist opposition groups in Syria by the ruling AK Party and President Erdoğan emphasize the ideological affinity with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The statement goes even further, accusing Turkey of being one of the most important supporters of radical Islamic organizations:

As a result of the gradually Islamized domestic and foreign policy of Ankara since 2011, Turkey has become the central platform for action for Islamist groups in the Middle East.

The ministry bases its statement on information from Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND). Although the ministry marked this information as “confidential,” nobody with even a small degree of knowledge about Turkey and its foreign policy can be shocked by it. Some courageous Turkish journalists have written about this in years past, while European politicians have, for years, repeated the accusation behind the scenes. The difference this time is that a European government says it publicly, out in the open.

Having said that, this newly released accusations — which are now official — will undoubtedly increase the tensions between Germany and Turkey even more. The Turkish regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cannot let it stand. Knowing them, they’ll quickly accuse Germany of lying after which they’ll ban Turkish newspapers and news channels from covering it.

The good news is that no matter what Ankara does now, it’ll be too little, too late. The information is out there now, and it’s widely being covered in Europe, where voters already were critical of Turkey to begin with. If European governments grow a backbone, they can use this opportunity to finally break with Erdogan and tell Turkey once and for all that it will not join the European Union as long as Erdogan remains in power.