Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused Germany of abetting terrorists while vowing that he will continue to make "Nazi” comparisons until Berlin hands over thousands of "terror criminals” that Turkey has long been demanding from the country.
"Germany disregarded our three million citizens living there. This negligence shown to us from a country with which we have very advanced relationship is hard to accept. At present, Germany is abetting terrorists. I speak frankly. And they go crazy when I say ‘They resurrected Nazism.’ Why are you going crazy? That’s what you are doing,” Erdoğan said in an interview with private broadcaster A Haber on late April 11.
"You will harbor and feed thousands of PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] members; I will give you 4,500 cases [about them] and you will examine these cases but won’t hand them over to me. But then you will come and will ask one agent-terrorist from me,” Erdoğan said, referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel over a Turkish-German journalist currently arrested in Turkey.
Merkel paid a visit to Turkey early February, where she demanded the charges filed against journalist Deniz Yücel to be dropped. Yücel was arrested on charges of making terror propaganda. Erdoğan said Yücel was sheltered at the German Consulate in Istanbul for nearly a month before going to the police and being arrested.
"She defends this dual German-Turkish citizen in such a way. I give you 4,500 dossiers. Why don’t you try these people and hand over those who have to be given to us? They are PKK terrorists. Why don’t you give them? I will continue to say that you are implementing Nazism as long as you don’t give them,” Erdoğan said.
"I said this to them. I say openly here because I told them to their face. For example, their president; we were good friends with him, but I see that he is also making unpleasant statements,” he said.
Turkey’s two targets are Manbij and Raqqa
When asked about Turkey’s involvement in Syria, Erdoğan reiterated Turkey’s readiness to join the United States and Russia in the upcoming Raqqa operation under the condition that the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) does not take part.
"I have discussed this with Mr. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. I have discussed this with Mr. [U.S. President Donald] Trump and with U.S. Secretary of State during his visit. Mr. Putin talks about humanitarian aid, so do the Americans. It’s alright, let’s do it together but this should not turn into a competition. Now all these issues are being discussed,” Erdoğan said.
He added that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was still powerful in Raqqa but Turkey can only take part in efforts to liberate Raqqa if the PYD are excluded.
"Why? Because they are terror organizations; strategically speaking, we find efforts to eliminate a terror organization by the help of another terror organization wrong. Because there is no good terrorist, they are all bad,” he said.
‘Facts covered on Syria’
Erdoğan also spoke about the recent chemical attack done by the Syrian regime near rebel-held Idlib that killed more than 70 people and caused U.S. to retaliate with missile attacks on a regime air base. "The Syrian regime should not be held accountable only for its chemical attacks, but conventional ones too,” he said, adding that the Syrian army and militias killed over a million Syrians.
"I, myself, claim that around one million people were killed in Syria by conventional weapons. They are covering everything. You will take [chemical attacks] to The Hague and to the Court of Justice, but you won’t do this for conventional attacks. Why do you cover killings when they are committed through conventional weapons?” he said.