Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Tuesday that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s accusation of fascism against Israel was “absurd,” days before the German leader is due to host the Turkish president for talks in Berlin, Agence France-Presse reported.
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 Erdoğan’s comment on Friday that Israel’s legitimacy was “being questioned due to its own fascism.”
Erdoğan is due to have talks with Scholz and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin.
But the visit, Erdoğan’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.
Erdoğan has been an increasingly vocal critic of Israel’s war against Gaza-rulers Hamas, triggered after the Islamist gunmen’s deadly attack on Oct. 7 that Israel said killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians.
The Turkish leader has accused Israel of committing war crimes as it heavily bombards Hamas-ruled Gaza, where the death toll has climbed past 11,000, according to the Hamas-run health authorities.
Defending the planned visit, Scholz’s spokesman Steffen Hebestreit had 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.