Berlin Softens Tone on Turkey

Germany has gone soft on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan since he became the subject of attacks by U.S. President Donald Trump. Leaders in Berlin are concerned that any instability might spread to Europe — and they want to send a message to the American government.

August 24, 2018 

Officials in Berlin political circles have often complained about Turkey’s president.

There was the spring of 2017, when he accused the German government of adopting Nazi methods. Or when he explained to “his” compatriots, Turkish-Germans, in the German election that they shouldn’t vote for the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU), because they were “enemies of Turkey.” Or when he stayed silent after the Turkish press depicted German Chancellor Angela Merkel with a Hitler moustache.

Now, members of the German government are describing another president’s behavior as “outrageous” and “primitive” — not Recep Tayyip Erdogan but Donald Trump, who picked a quarrel with Turkey and imposed duties and sanctions on the country, sending the Turkish lira into a tailspin.

Government officials argue that everyone knows the Turks don’t allow themselves to be intimidated like that. Ultimately, Trump will fail to secure the release of the imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson, they argue, and he will instead poison relations between Turkey and the West.