Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday that he is “too busy” to talk on the phone with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in a snub to a country he accused of harboring “terrorists.”
Turkish top diplomat said the phone dispute doesn’t have anything to do with other conflicts, accusing Germany of being a haven for all terrorist groups who are against Turkey. “What is your problem with us? It seems they [Germany] don’t want us to become a powerful country. Why are you jealous of Turkey?” he asked during a press conference on Monday.
“They [Europeans] think that they are this big, first-class country, and Turkey and Balkans are the second class. We want them to treat us as equal partners, and show us respect,” he added.
In the same news conference in Ankara, Cavusoglu accused Germany, which is home to more than three million Turks, of letting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and far-left group DHKP-C to operate in Germany freely. “They [Germany] support those terrorist groups because they are against Turkey,” the FM claimed.
Shortly after Cavusoglu’s remarks on Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier rejected the accusations that Germany backs the Kurdish militant group PKK. “They are banned and criminally prosecuted here in Germany,” he said.
Steinmeier said he doesn’t understand why Turkey keeps saying this. “Repeating the claims does not make them right,” the FM added.
This is not the first time Turkey is accusing Berlin of protecting terrorist groups. Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed Germany for sheltering terrorist groups such as the PKK and the DHKP-C. His remarks came after Berlin had refused to extradite followers of a U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is blamed for masterminding the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey. The Muslim cleric denies any involvement.
Despite Ankara’s increasingly vocal criticisms towards Germany, Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth showed his solidarity with persecuted Turks, saying that Germany is willing to cooperate with asylum seekers as a matter of principle.
“Not just journalists, they can all apply for asylum in Germany,” he said.