Turkish-German relations, which date back to the Ottoman era, have lately slumped to their lowest levels. Berlin complains about Ankara in the presence of all international organizations to which Turkey and Germany are parties and threatens economic sanctions.
Lately, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked the German electorate of Turkish descent not to vote for those antagonistic to Turkey.
But how have relations between the two cultures, whose interests did not even come into conflict during the sharply polarized environments of World War I and II come to such a point?
Both countries blame the other side. According to German politicians, the cause of the crisis is the drift toward authoritarianism in Turkey. But the strongest evidence for this argument are allegations of the coup plotters who attempted a coup in Turkey last year because Germany hosts many fascists who joined, supported or abetted the coup attempt in which 249 people were killed. Ankara, on the other hand, contends that Germany supports illegal dissidents in Turkey in accordance with its economic and political objectives.
However, at this point, it is of no avail to lecture their justifications and responses since both countries have already passed the threshold of diplomacy. The quagmire has become even muddier. Steps must be taken to prevent delaying a solution.
Germany and Turkey have had strong economic, social and cultural bonds for many years. For instance, Germany is the top export destination for Turkish goods and ranks second among countries from which Turkey imports. This data of course reveals that Turkey is an essential market for Germany.
Also, 2 million Turkish-Germans living in Germany also bond the two countries.
So, what can be the common ground that would put an end to this feud that gets nowhere?
The answer is simple. Law.
Both countries should not question each other's judicial systems recognized in the international arena. This is what the situation is supposed to be. Article 90 of the Turkish Constitution regards international law and its legitimate organizations as above Turkish laws. And Germany is a component of this system.
Germany requested the extradition of several people from Turkey based on this legitimacy. Despite that, the country extradited only three of 206 militants Ankara requested between 2007 and 2017.
Which sovereign state can accept such unequal reciprocity?
As a journalist who has been closely following Turkey's foreign policy reflexes for a long while, I do not think that a step taken by Germany in this respect would go unanswered by Turkey.