Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he seeks improved ties with Germany and the EU after a tense year.
“Certainly, we want to maintain good relations with the EU and its member-states,” Erdogan told a gaggle of journalists on board the presidential aircraft, en route to Africa.
“I have always said this. We must reduce the number of our enemies, and increase the number of our friends,” he said in remarks published by the Turkish daily Hurriyet.
From "Nazis" to friends
Erdogan said he has “no reason” not to visit Germany or the Netherlands, with whose leaders he has had bitter exchanges. He has repeatedly accused Angela Merkel and Germany of modern “Nazism”, and has called the Dutch government “Nazi remnants and fascists”.
Merkel has blasted Erdogan"s authoritarianism and trampling on the rule of law, and in the autumn called for a suspension or cessation of Turkey"s EU accession talks.
Now, Erdogan praised German leaders because “they are in the same policy line” as Turkey in condemning US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. “All this is very satisfactory,” he said.
Erdogan suggested that the EU posture on Jerusalem can help improve the Union’s ties with Ankara.
He also announced that he may be paying a visit to France. He said Paris did not disappoint Ankara on the Jerusalem issue.
Erdogan’s efforts to posture as a leader of Muslims in the Middle East, however, have not gone over well in the Arab world.