The 5 reasons that brought relations to its limits
Sensation has caused in Germany and indeed Europe the anti-European rhetoric of Turkey, which main objective is to target Germany, which is considered the “engine of the EU”. The two countries’ relations are tense but have not yet reached a nadir as there is a balance that is very difficult to be disturbed.
On the one hand, there is the economic relationship between the two countries and the German investments in Turkey, on the other hand, the 3.5 million Turks who have a German passport and will vote in the forthcoming German elections.
For a long time, Berlin has been keeping a low tone in the verbal attacks by Recep Tayyip Erdogan and many Turkish government ministers, but the glass seems to have been overwhelmed.
Angela Merkel, before leaving for holiday, said she would not accept extortion from Turkey as Ankara recently banned German MPs from visiting the NATO base in Iconium.
The Chancellor defended the right of German MPs to visit the German soldiers and said that not only the German government but also NATO would speak with Turkey about it: “In Iconium we should look at the overall situation. The struggle against the Islamic State is in a decisive phase and we have to weigh things up, however there will not be special conditions for us”.
Gabriel’s hard stance
German Foreign Minister Zigmar Gabriel last week announced tough measures against Turkey in response to the apprehension of a German human rights activist.
The German Foreign Ministry warned German citizens to be more cautious when traveling to Turkey, citing recent arrests of people there and Ankara’s refusal to allow consular authorities access in some cases, violating international law.
“People traveling to Turkey for private or business purposes are called upon to show increased caution and should be recorded in the German consulates and the embassy, even for shorter visits. The Foreign Ministry’s websites are not always informed in a timely manner about the arrests of German citizens, and access to consular services is not always secured”, the Foreign Ministry statement said.
Accusations to German companies in Turkey
Sensation was caused by a German publication, according to which Ankara blames German companies (BASF, Daimler) that they support Gühlen’s Islamic order of, which Ankara has branded a terrorist organization, and claims to be behind the 2016 coup attempt.
Fears for the departure of European investors from Turkey
The worst, however, for Turkey was the statement by Gabriel that Berlin can no longer guarantee German corporate investment in Turkey.
“Our policies towards Turkey should go in a new direction… we can not continue as we have done so far. We need to be clearer than what we have been up to now, so that those responsible in Ankara should understand that such policies have consequences”, Gabriel explained.
“Recently, a certain number of Germans have been deprived of their liberty for reasons or for a period of time that are unspecified”, he noted, as nine German citizens, of whom some have dual citizenship, are currently being held in the country, accused of supporting “terrorism”.
The German Foreign Minister accused the Erdogan government of wanting to “reverse the course of history” in its own country, with the aim to “make all critical voices silence”.
Ankara do not back down and retorts
Commenting on Gabriel’s statements, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin described Gabriel’s statements as “unfortunate” and “irresponsible”, estimating that they was an “internal policy investment in the run-up to the German elections” in September.
Turkish President Erdogan recommended to Germany to “come round”, while he also said that the travel directive issued by the German Foreign Ministry for Turkey is unjustified and malicious and that the German government should apologize for the terrorists the country offers shelter to.
“They can not scare us with these threats. The Turkish justice is more independent than the justice in Germany. No one has the right to interfere in Turkey’s internal affairs”, Erdogan said.
Ankara want to keep the investments
The Turkish president, however, has rushed to assert that “there is neither an investigation nor a prosecution against german companies operating in Turkey. “This information is false, it is fairytale, there is nothing like that”, he said.
Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci also hastened to reassure Berlin. “German investments in Turkey are fully safeguarded by both the Ankara government itself and the country’s laws”.
“The crisis between Turkey and Germany is temporary, but it can cause permanent damage to the economy. Germany has to rethink what it has said”, he warned.
The economic power of Germany against Turkey
Turkey’s business world, as well as German investors in Turkey, are concerned over the tensions between the two countries.
Turkey’s exports to Germany reached USD 14.8 billion, while imports from Germany amounted to USD 24.7 billion. Despite the sharp decline in tourist traffic in Turkey in 2016, 3.9 million German citizens visited Erdogan, with tourist revenue exceeding USD 2.7 billion. What’s more, German there are 6969 businesses in Turkey and the amount invested exceeds USD 9 billion. German pharmaceutical and automakers companies have made huge investments.
Investments from Katar are not like the ones from Germany
Turkish economist Ahmet Insel in statements to the BBC says he believes Germany will not withdraw its investments from Turkey, but stresses that from now on it will be difficult to bring new investments. This could affect other Europeans who want to enter the Turkish market. Perhaps the government will try to fill the gap with investments from Qatar, but investments from Germany are productive and have an impact on employment.
The 5 reasons of the crisis
The first reason of the crisis is the arrest of German nationals. The beginning of the crisis came with the arrest of Die Welt journalist Deniz Yucel. The arrest of a German activist followed in July.
The second reason is the ban on entry to German MPs who wanted to visit the Incirlik base, in which serve German officers. The Turkish authorities have forbidden entry as a counterweight to the positive disposition of Berlin towards Turkish citizens who have sought asylum after the attempted coup. Turkey suspects some of them to have participated in the attempt to overthrow Erdogan. About 200 German officers were serving at Incirlik. Germany is now in the process of withdrawing its forces from Indirlik.
The third reason is that the German authorities grand asylum to Turkish citizens and officers who, according to Ankara, have relations with the order of Gulen, in addition to supporting journalists who have an arrest warrant against them, and in particular the former director of Cumhuriyet Can Dundar.
The fourth reason is the accusations that Germany has leveled against Turkey that Turkish agents watch Gülen’s members in German territory. The German police in February 2017 arrested 4 persons with the accusation of collecting information on behalf of Turkey.
The last reason is the cancellations and bans imposed by the German authorities on Turkish ministers for pre-election gatherings before the April 16 referendum, and as an extend to that the characterisations of the Turkish press for Merkel, which called her a Nazi.
However, Erdogan has also stated that the bans have no difference from Nazi practices./IBNA