President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's talks at the U.N. summit in New York and following visit to Germany were a significant response to the view that can be summarized as "Turkey is breaking away from the West and entering a new foreign policy axis." Both the messages he conveyed in the U.S. and in his comprehensive Germany visit are crucial for reminding readers that Turkey insists on its perspective and maintains its relationship with the West, attaches weight to this relationship and that it is an indispensable player of the international system.
First of all, it would be good to take a brief look at the messages regarding developments in the U.S. President Donald Trump conveyed positive messages to Turkey regarding Idlib and struck a warm pose with Erdoğan, confirming that Turkey is still an important ally for the U.S. Of course, the problems that have emerged recently are yet to be solved, there are still serious clashes of ideas and problem areas. However, this does not mean that Turkey has changed its path and given up its multifaceted foreign policy.
As for the Germany visit…
In Germany, Erdoğan's two meetings with Chancellor Angela Merkel during his three-day visit, the scope of these meetings, the bilateral meeting with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the following statements point to the significance of the continuation of good relations with Turkey. Likewise, Turkey aims to eliminate problems and achieve a good line again in relations with Germany, which is a major economic partner.
The trade volume between Turkey and Germany was 37 billion euros in 2017. The number of Turks living in the country exceeds 3.5 million. These two elements alone are enough to explain how important the two countries are for each other.
By and large, it seems the crisis with Europe will slowly decline in this period. This is also indicated by Turkey's assignment of an envoy to the Netherlands after a long time. Of course, the problems will not be overcome in a snap. However, taking into consideration both Erdoğan and Merkel's prudent discourse in the press conferences held during Erdoğan's visit to Germany, we understand what a constructive approach the parties have.
Let me remind everyone that this visit was conducted in this way despite the German media, which has an extremely negative attitude toward Erdoğan. I said "despite" since the media is a very influential force in determining politics in Germany. Often, the media's attitude can push politicians to step back. This time, however, Merkel took up a decisive stance, despite the media coverage that went far beyond criticism and went as far as to show hostility. Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go for the normalization of relations. First, Germany needs to be aware of the discourse that boosts the far right through using Erdoğan. Today, far-right German circles and the German media define "the bad" and "the other" through Erdoğan in an extremely orientalist approach. This anomaly has to be confronted and corrected.
Certainly, Turkey should take more steps on the way to strengthening the rule of law, accelerate concrete progress to remove the problems in the judiciary and explain its determination to this end. However, the German media's approach toward Turkey from an Islamophobic perspective overshadows the mutual good faith efforts. This approach further alienates the Turks in Germany from the society they live in.
I believe that Germany, which very courageously confronted the Nazi reality after World War II, can confront this reality as well.
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