On the second day of 2018, I would like to celebrate the new year with readers and express my wishes that 2018 be different than 2017. It has been a tough year in Turkey-Germany relations. The two countries have confronted serious problems due to the constitutional amendment referendum in Turkey and the general elections in Germany. Throughout 2017, Germany worsened the already troubled relations with some negative steps it took regarding Turkey. As a matter of fact, Germany has made a number of successive mistakes in its relations with Turkey since the attempted coup on July 15, 2016.
For some reason, Germany did not appreciate the Turkish nation's heroic defense of democracy and the country's democratically elected president with their resistance to the coup plotters, which has gone down in both Turkey's recent history and world history as a glorious fight for democracy.
The Turkish nation got upset by the fact that Germany granted asylum and various other opportunities to Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) militants. This move was following its suspicious silence on the coup attempt although a large number of Turkish civilians lost their lives while resisting jets, helicopters and tanks used by the FETÖ militants. While Germany was expected to extradite FETÖ militants to Turkey, the country turned into a hotel for the militants instead.
Furthermore, it was completely scandalous that the activities of Turkish ministers and members of Parliament who wanted to organize meetings in Germany with an aim to inform Turkish citizens living in Germany about the referendum were prohibited or restricted. Also, permits for the venues where the meetings were scheduled to be held were canceled on various pretexts, which did not go in line with Germany's image.
In the end though, Germany failed in its efforts to hinder the meetings. For instance, the owners of the venues rented for Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu's Hamburg meeting were raided. Also, it was claimed in several instances that the venues were not secure. A wedding hall in Hamburg, which has hosted hundreds of weddings for years, was suddenly deemed not fire-proof. Despite all the efforts to hamper the meeting, Çavuşoğlu met Turkish citizens in the yard of the Turkish Consulate in Hamburg. I felt really sorry for Germany as I witnessed the incident. There was no need to make such a scene.
On top of all that, Germany went on a rampage to hinder President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's meeting with Turkish citizens during his visit to Germany for the G20 summit.
Although German politicians used every means to intervene in Turkey's referendum while the election campaign in Germany was ongoing, they emphasized that Turkey cannot intervene in German elections. Also, German tourists wanting to travel to Turkey were deterred by misrepresenting Turkey as an unsafe country.
They demanded the release of German citizens detained in Turkey on various charges, ignoring that Turkey is a state of law. When their wish was not fulfilled, they blamed Turkey.
In a nutshell, Turkey has been targeted by many unfair accusations and campaigns coming from Germany. As a matter of fact, the negative developments between Germany and Turkey favored neither country. Economic relations in particular have suffered a great deal, which disturbed both Turkish and German business circles. Also, Germans of Turkish descent were subjected to mobbing and various pressures for this reason, which undermined social peace. Even Turkish-EU relations were affected by Germany's faulty policies. Germany's attitude also discomforted the EU.
On the first days of 2018, we need to end such negativities. Together, Turks and Germans have to make 2018 a year of convergence between Turkey and Germany.