While it will come as no surprise to readers of this site, which last year first revealed that Turkey was a key financial backer of the Islamic State, exchanging ISIS oil for cold, hard (USD) cash, it now appears that the Germans have finally caught up, after a leaked internal government document accused the Turkish government of supporting terrorist organizations such as Hamas, public broadcaster ARD reported yesterday. The leaked report, which just a year ago would have been called, what else - a tinfoil conspiracy theory - states the German government’s belief that Ankara has been deliberately financing Islamist and terror organizations with the direct consent of President Recep Erdogan.
The document written by the Interior Ministry was a confidential answer to a question posed by Die Linke (the Left Party) in the German parliament (Bundestag). “The numerous affirmations of solidarity and support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, for Hamas and for armed Islamist opposition groups in Syria by the ruling AKP party and president Erdogan underscore their ideological affinity to their Muslim brothers,” the document states, cited by The Local.
Ankara has repeatedly denied it delivers weapons to Islamist militants in Syria, even though we have shown on various occasions that weapons and supplies destined for ISIS do cross Turkey. But it has a very different attitude to Hamas as that of western states, viewing the group as a legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
According to Spiegel this is the first time the German government has publicly accused Turkey of having links to Hamas and other Islamist militant groups. The document also reportedly claims that Ankara has recently deepened its links with these groups.
“As a result of the step-by-step Islamization of its foreign and domestic policy since 2011, Turkey has become the central platform for action by Islamist groups in the Middle East,” the document states, according to ARD.
Relations between Germany and Turkey have soured markedly in recent months after the Bundestag ratified a proposal to recognize the massacres of Armenians by Turkish Ottoman troops in 1915-16 as genocide. German authorities also recently barred Erdogan from talking via video link to supporters at a rally in Cologne where thousands took to the streets to support the Turkish president after a failed coup in July.
At first sight, it does not appear that the German government intended to use this classified document as a means of embarrassing Ankara. The document stated that a public response to Die Linke's question was not possible “for the welfare of the state.” It is also not clear to what extent the response had been agreed with the Foreign Ministry.
Germany views Turkey as an “important partner” in fighting terrorism, including by Islamic State, and the refugee accord remains valid and “sensible,” Steffen Seibert, Merkel’s chief spokesman, told reporters in Berlin. He declined to comment on the substance of the leaked report.
However, by then the damage had been done, and with the leaking of this critical report, Ankara has been badly "embarrassed." As a result, overnight Turkey’s government slammed the leaked report, increasing the risk of renewed tension between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Chancellor Angela Merkel.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry - which so far had mostly lashed out against the US for harboring alleged coup mastermind Fethulah Gullen - said that the German government’s internal assessment is a "new indication of a twisted mentality that attempts to wear out our country by targeting our president and the government." It blamed unnamed politicians in Germany for applying “double standards” on countries’ commitment to fighting terrorism.
Needless to say, engaging in a war of words with both the US and Germany at the same time, is extremely foolhardy for even the most hardened dictator, unless they truly do have all the leverage, or some trump card up their sleeve the general public is unaware of.
This leak is the the latest scandal between the two countries after Turkey pledged in March to halt the flow of refugees from the Middle East to Europe under an accord with the EU that was championed by Merkel. Turkey, now grappling with upheaval after an attempted military coup against Erdogan in July, has said it will scrap the deal if isn’t granted visa waivers for its citizens traveling to the EU, Bloomberg adds.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble defended the refugee accord at an election rally late Tuesday. “I don’t like at all what Mr. Erdogan is doing, but I’m not in favor” of ending EU-Turkish cooperation on refugees, Schaeuble said in the port city of Rostock. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been cautious in his criticism of Turkey ever since the EU signed a refugee deal with Turkey in March, which has contributed to massively reducing the number of asylum seekers arriving in Germany since a high point at the end of last year.
Which is also why we find it so odd that Germany would "leak" a report whose potential destructive power on such a critical diplomatic issue, is so vast. Unless, of course, the leak was premeditated, and designed to force Erdogan to do something "irrational", like for example unleashing another 1-2 million refugees in Germany's general direction, which would have a far more destabilizing effect on German society than Grexit and Brexit combined. And with Putin now at his back, Erdogan just may do that.
The only question we have: why is Germany implicitly encouraging this and, of course, what does George Soros stand to gain from all of this?