With the "Turkey Summit" taking place in Brussels, today is crucial for Turkey and the EU. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavuşoğlu and EU Minister Ömer Çelik will try to solve the problems between Turkey and the EU with their European counterparts. Not an easy task. Nothing positive can come from a crisis between the two, so we are holding out hope for progressive dialogue and problem solving. The time has come to end the long, prejudiced wait Turkey has had to endure on its path to EU membership.
Unfortunately, this issue has faced even more challenges in recent weeks at the hands of German politicians counting bids for the parliamentary elections coming on Sept. 24. In reality, Turkey and Germany should be close allies. Turkish-origin people in Germany and Germans in Turkey are the most upset over this rivalry as the camaraderie between the two countries sadly starts to decline.Alongside the historical friendship, the commercial relations between the two countries are also suffering.
Unfortunately, some German politicians could not care less, being more concerned about the looming election campaign. They either cannot see the damage they have caused or, worse, do not care because of the polls.The crises concerning the İncirlik and Konya Air Bases were actually provoked by the Left Party in the Bundestag. Unfortunately, German media does not accurately report this to its public.
The Delegation of the Defense Commission of the German Federal Assembly, which wanted to visit German troops at the İncirlik and Konya Air Bases in Turkey, is not the real problem. In fact, the real issue is support the Left Party representative included in the commission have given the PKK. Let's face it, what country would welcome a party and a deputy that openly support a terrorist organization responsible for killing tens of thousands of its people? Even if the Turkish government gave way, the citizens of Turkey would not allow it. German citizens who experienced Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorism should empathize with this. However, as I mentioned before, the German media has not written a single line on this issue.Likewise, the issue of German citizens in Turkish custody has been very one sided, as well. Hundreds of Turkish citizens have been sentenced by German courts for crimes committed there.
Germany is a state of law, and therefore, respected by Turkey, which understands the normalcy of a criminal being punished in the territory of the offence. However, the same rules apply for German citizens who commit crimes in Turkey and those who have been investigated for alleged crimes. Turkey is a lawful state, and being affiliated with or a member of a terrorist group is not taken as a light offence. The PKK is considered a terrorist organization, not only by Turkey, but also by NATO and the EU, and it is an organization officially banned in Germany. In addition, although Germany has yet to show much support, Turkey is also battling the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), run by its U.S.-based leader, Fetullah Gülen.
Consequentially, if German citizens are suspected of involvement in terrorism, Turkish prosecutors are required to investigate, which brings us to our current situation in which about 22 German citizens have so far been investigated and 13 have been released, demonstrating the fair judicial process. It has been said that there are judges in Berlin. That is right. However, German politicians need to realize there are judges in Turkey, too.If German politicians could respect the state law and stop wasting time with unnecessary explanations, perhaps the investigations and trials could be carried out in a more relaxed environment for all involved parties.
However, the crucial policy of not discussing an ongoing investigation in Germany is simply ignored in relation to Turkey, and even sadder that, it is being done just to win a couple of votes.It is counterproductive of German policymakers to force economic pressure in an effort to gain footing in this judicial situation. Perhaps the politicians and ministers did not learn from the Ukrainian crisis. Although economic pressure on Russia forced its hand, the most damage was done to the industries of EU member states. In fact, an automobile factory lost its footing in Germany and Russia as a result, which is just one example of hundreds.However, in relation to Turkey, Germany will come out the loser. Currently, 6,000 German companies are successfully operating with 9 billion euros of investments in Turkey.
Are German ministers unaware of the position of their industrialists in Turkey? In recent days, German industrialists have been rightly criticizing their government in this regard.It is quite right that Turkey will not be pleased if Germany implements its economic pressure, preventing some products from being sold in the country. Historically, quality, made-in-Germany products have always been Turkey's first choice. However, if the economic pressure is successful, countries like the U.S., Russia, China, Korea and many EU countries will be very happy to gain the business.
Even if it is not the same quality, it will not be hard to meet the country's needs. Do the ministers really want to lose the profitable Turkish market? What kind of an explanation can those who have provoked hostility toward Turkey to gain votes give German industrialists and their employees operating in Turkey? Perhaps it would have been wiser to calculate votes from this perspective.In the end, those deepening the crisis between the two allies are only working to harm Germany. Threats and blackmail will not get them what they want, but the results of their efforts could damage a critical relationship in the long run.