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Ties strained as Turkish FM admits keeping German counterpart waiting on phone

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has admitted that he twice refused to take a call from German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Nov. 8.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Çavuşoğlu said: “They think Germany is a superior country and expect us to be ready to take a call whenever they are ready. We are not loafing around here; we also have things to do.”

Underlining that the phone calls had nothing to do with the tensions between the two countries, Çavuşoğlu accused Germany of harboring terrorists, bringing to mind President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent remarks in which he asked German Chancellor Angela Merkel about some 4,000 files for the extradition of “terrorists,” mostly members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Europe should stop harboring terrorists; it will hit them like a boomerang one day,” Erdoğan said.

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?” Çavuşoğlu said.

In another press conference on Tuesday, Çavuşoğlu accused Germany of backing the terrorist PKK and far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) and letting their members freely operate on its soil.

Following Çavuşoğlu’s remarks Steinmeier denied the accusations and said that both terror groups are banned and criminally prosecuted in Germany. Steinmeier said he doesn’t understand why Turkey keeps saying this.

In the face of Ankara’s increasingly vocal criticism of Germany, Minister of State for Europe at the German Federal Foreign Office Michael Roth has said that Germany is willing to cooperate with asylum seekers [from Turkey] as a matter of principle. “Not just journalists, they can all apply for asylum in Germany,” he said.

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