Relations must be mended after Sept 24

Published 10.08.2017 00:35

The crisis ongoing between Germany and Turkey has also begun to encumber the EU. As Germany presses on the suspension or deceleration of economic steps the EU has jointly taken with Ankara, the EU is disturbed that Germany acts as if it commands the entire union. Many EU countries do not support Germany's motivations regarding Turkey. The number of people arguing that Germany is mistaken is growing behind closed doors.

Many EU countries were harmed by the Ukraine civil war and the subsequent problems in relations with Russia by following Germany's motivations. Economic embargoes on Russia do not bring any benefit to EU economies. This is also the same for Germany. Opel, the most problematic German automobile manufacturer, lost a big market due to the Russian embargo. However, this maker, which has problems in the German market due to some image issues, was very successful in Russia. Many medium-sized German companies are watching the developments with deep concern as Germany exerts efforts to deepen the crisis rather than trying to solve it.

Industrialists in other EU countries who follow the developments and favor improving economic relations with Turkey do not want their governments to side with Berlin. It can be seen that Germany is left alone with regard to its demands on Ankara, even within the EU.

Even in Austria, which ostensibly supports Germany on that matter, there is a similar vein because the business world has always managed to keep political and economic relations apart thus far. Although it is estimated that a government not favoring Turkey's EU membership will be formed following the Austrian legislative elections that will be held in October, it is also projected that they will develop a different view regarding economic relations with Turkey.

This situation has to be the same for Germany. The election to be held on Sept. 24 might have led to such bad crisis management for the first time in German history. Unfortunately, two parties created this situation. The current, ineffective administrators of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), which is the party of successful former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, whose slogan was "Country first", are being punished by the German electorate since they prioritize themselves before country. Polls indicate that the vote share of the SPD is around 25 percent, which is not expected to rise. This failure causes the SPD to make more mistakes. SPD Chairman Martin Schulz, who has already been coded as the politician losing against Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union (CDU), also made the mistake of running his election campaign with slogans against Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which undermined German-Turkish relations to a great extent.

The Green Party, whose vote share is currently around 6.5 percent, and its co-chair of Turkish descent, Cem Özdemir, who runs a personal feud with Turkey and Erdoğan, try to manipulate Germany's national politics for their anti-Turkey discourse. We have sadly seen that these two unsuccessful parties and politicians are doing great harm to economic relations between Turkey and Germany only for the sake of their egos. No sane person would want the deterioration of relations only because of a few politicians like Schulz and Özdemir.

In the past, except the brief Schröder period, Germany never supported Turkey's EU membership. Despite that, economic relations between the countries developed without any harm and reached their current point. If desired and acted on meticulously, political divergences do not cause any harm to economic relations. Turkey is very meticulous on this. Despite a number of political problems with Germany, which are hard for Ankara to condone, Turkey has tried to be fair to German companies so far. Last week, Germany-based Siemens became the winner of a bid in the energy sector worth 1 billion euros. The German companies that have invested in Turkey and make big profits in the country are still very pleased with the market despite everything. Also, Germans living in Turkey are content with their lives despite the crisis. German tourists visiting Turkey encounter no problems despite all the efforts to dissuade them from traveling to the country.

Recently, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel agreed that a German parliamentary delegation can pay a visit to the German troops stationed at the Konya NATO air base. Hopefully, this positive development will not be sabotaged by the Left Party in the Bundestag, which supports the outlawed PKK. So far, the problems regarding delegations emerged since the Left endeavored to include a pro-PKK parliament member in delegations. We will see what happens next.

In a nutshell, I suggest an optimistic outlook despite everything. No matter what happens between Germany and Turkey in the political realm, economic relations should not be affected. The opposite situation does not bring any benefit to either country. In addition, the EU is also negatively affected by such problems. But above all, German industry is facing problems in one of its leading markets.

Hopefully, a new environment that could mend relations can be created after the elections on Sept. 24. A new beginning is urgently needed in which the politicians undermining Germany for their own egos such as Schulz and Özdemir are out of the picture.

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