Turkish and European Union flags 311 (R).
(photo credit: Wolfgang Rattay / Reuters)
BERLIN – The head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag, Deputy
Ruprecht Polenz, reprimanded Turkey for its jingoistic policies toward Israel
and Cyprus, according to a report in a Turkish daily on
Istanbul’s Hürriyet Daily News quoted Polenz as saying on Monday
that Turkey’s statements against Israel recall the language of “Arab
“This attitude [of Turkey] may appear to generate support in
the Arab world.
However, anti-Israel emotions have been used by Arab
dictators for a long time and it’s questionable if that’s worked out,” he
“Israel and Turkey’s worsening relations are of serious concern for
us,” and Germany is of the view that “two of its friends were fighting,” Polenz
said, according to Hürriyet.
According to a report in the Hamburger
, Polenz, a deputy from the Christian Democratic Union, the party of
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, criticized deficits in Turkey’s application of
religious freedom. Polenz took Turkey to task for failing to allow Christians to
practice their religion.
Bundestag deputy Volker Kauder (CDU) said
mosques are permitted to be built in Germany and Christians should be allowed to
build churches in Turkey.Hürriyet
cited remarks from a Brussels-based
diplomat, Giles Portman, who serves as an adviser on Turkey at the European
Union External Action Service.
“We want to see Turkey and Israel improve
their bilateral relations,” Portman said. “We want Turkey to play a role in the
Middle East peace process.
Turkey has a capability for that if it has
relations with Israel.”
In another stinging remark on Turkey’s aggressive
foreign policy, Polenz asked, “Why doesn’t Turkey practice its zero problem
policy on Cyprus?” according to the Turkish paper.
Polenz appears to have
alluded to Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s declaration that Turkey has “zero
problems with neighbors.”
With a view toward Turkey’s application to join
the European Union, Polenz suggested that Ankara reevaluate its Cyprus policy
and permit Greek vessels from Cyprus to dock at Turkish ports.
remarks were unusually strong for Polenz, who favors Turkey’s admission to the
EU. His position contradicts that of Merkel and many of his party’s deputies,
who favor a loose association membership, but not full EU rights for Turkey.