The issue of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) is about to mark a turning point in Turkish-German relations. Germany has adopted pressing on Turkey in several aspects as a state policy. This attitude is more than an internal politics tool. As a matter of fact, Germany has had issues with Turkey since the turn of the century. The country is the unchanging agent involved in many turning points Turkey has had in its recent history. The two countries have deep-rooted economic and political ties along with a number of profound and critical political issues. It is enough to view only the developments over the past few years to realize this. This question still needs to be answered: Why are Turkish-German relations on the verge of a profound crisis? This problem reaches far beyond the concerns about domestic politics. And no reasonable ground is evident.
Is it because Turkey does not have a democracy and legal order that complies with EU standards as Germany claims, or because of covert yet profound economic and political crises?
Currently, it is known that Germany openly protects terrorist groups fighting against Turkey, such as FETÖ and the outlawed PKK, to name a few, and not for the sake of its concerns about democracy. Concerns about authoritarianization also cannot be a genuine reason for Germany's stance, since the country embraced the Egyptian coup leader General al-Sissi.
If a founding member of the EU like Germany has come to a point to violate the very standards of law it set itself, it means that some factors might go against national and global interests. Germany did this by protecting the FETÖ militants who attempted the coup in the most unrefined way. It was not a simple activity of protecting. For the first time ever, the German's Federal intelligence Service BND Chair Bruno Kahl said that the July 15 coup attempt has no relation with FETÖ, claiming that FETÖ was not behind it. According to Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın, this is a noteworthy situation. Kalın pointed that BND's statements must be reviewed on many levels and that the statements are "an attempt to whitewash FETÖ." Now, a clear page is about to be turned in Germany-Turkey relations.
Turkey issued a diplomatic note to Germany regarding the extradition of Adil Öksüz, one of the suspected masterminds of the July 15 who was caught red-handed in Akıncı Military Air Base during the coup attempt and brought to Germany with a deep-laid operation. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced this with the following words: "As the Foreign Ministry, we issued a note to Germany and requested the immediate identification and extradition of the person in question provided that he is in Germany. Germany said "No" to this in a snap, which was more than expected, since the country does not define the July 15 as a coup attempt. But the possibility that he is in Germany indicates that Germany is also caught red-handed."
After he is found, it will be clear that Germany's stance against Turkey is not because of any so-called democracy problems in Turkey, but because of the undermining of its economic and political interests.
Germany protests the construction of the third Istanbul airport, the consolidation of Turkish defense industry and the exclusion of their agencies in Istanbul, adding the factor of a global partnership dating back to past. German-FETÖ ties is not a new phenomenon.
So far, Germany has had close ties with FETÖ through schools across many countries. In many countries, it is possible to see that FETÖ offshoots and German foundation schools coexist.
What they have in common is shaping minds through education. Detlef Ernst, the Chairman of the World Association of German Schools Abroad, points out the importance of this strategy as such: "Ever since Willy Brandt, cultural and education policy has been established as the third pillar of German foreign policy." We will see in following period in what other realms FETÖ and Germany converge in accordance with Germany's ambition concerning global balances.
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