Days before meet, German leader casts as ‘absurd’ Erdogan’s claim Israel is ‘fascist’

Turkish president is slated to visit Berlin this week for the first time since 2020; Chancellor Scholz says Jerusalem is bound by international law and 'acts accordingly'

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gives a press conference at the Chancellery in Berlin on November 14, 2023. (Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

BERLIN, Germany — Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Tuesday that Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s accusation of fascism against Israel was “absurd,” days before the German leader is due to host the Turkish president for talks in Berlin.

Israel “is a democracy” and “a country that is bound to human rights and international law and acts accordingly. Therefore, the accusations against Israel are absurd,” Scholz told a press conference.

He was responding to a question about Erdogan’s comment on Friday that Israel’s legitimacy was “being questioned due to its own fascism.”

Erdogan is due to hold talks with Scholz and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin.

But the visit, Erdogan’s first since 2020, is proving controversial over the Turkish leader’s accusations against Israel and his characterization of Hamas as “liberators” fighting for their land.

Erdogan has been an increasingly vocal critic of Israel’s war against Hamas, which was launched after the terror group carried out a murderous rampage across southern Israel on October 7, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaks to the attendees during a rally to show their solidarity with the Palestinians, in Istanbul, Oct. 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

The Turkish leader has accused Israel of committing war crimes as it wages its campaign in Gaza, where the Hamas-run health ministry claims that the death toll has passed 11,000, a figure that cannot be independently verified and does not distinguish between civilians and terror operatives.

Defending the planned visit, Scholz’s spokesman Steffen Hebestreit acknowledged on Monday that Germany “always had difficult partners whom we have to deal with.”

But he underlined that it was important to keep talking at the toughest of times to make progress on various issues.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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