Over the recent period, Turkey-Germany relations have been recovering, which surely favors both countries. As is already known, the latest crisis in bilateral relations has not affected economic relations. As a matter of fact, the countries cannot afford to have such a crisis in present circumstances since problems will not benefit either side. Germany has a considerable number of citizens of Turkish descent whereas many Germans love to spend their holidays in Turkey. Besides, the quality of Turkey-Germany relations is of vital importance for the EU as the EU is the most affected part when problems arise between Germany and Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu lately spoke on the subject very clearly, saying that no step Germany has so far taken toward Turkey has remained unreciprocated and it will always be this way. Of course, even the most trivial steps taken in this regard do please the Turks living in Germany and the Germans in Turkey.
Aside from the Turkish population employed in Germany, many German citizens work in Turkey thanks to various job opportunities the country presents. The Germans working and living in Turkey do not have any complaints and seem to be pleased with their standard of living. I have observed that the Turkey correspondents of many Germany-based newspapers and periodicals do enjoy their life in Turkey thanks to Turkish hospitality, although some of them write pieces on Turkey that contradict the truth either out of bad intentions or a lack of knowledge.
I am sure that the managers, executives and other staff members working in Turkish branches of German corporations are content with their life in Turkey. Among them, I have not run into anyone complaining about Turkey so far. I wish I could write the same lines for the Turks living in Germany but unfortunately this is not possible. The reasons are already evident as I have written about them many times in my articles. Those who want to know them can check out my previous articles published in the past few months.
Turkey and Germany are two great countries which can contribute to the EU's and their own interests with the partnerships they conduct in various fields. Instead of criticizing Turkey's cooperation with Russia in defense and energy, Germany must make suggestions to develop cooperation with Turkey and sign giant projects in the same fields. Turkey always expresses that it is open to such offers. Germany and Turkey can jointly take on many projects in Africa and the Middle East, and I am sure this will also set an example to other EU countries. The giant projects undertaken by Turkey and Germany can be improved with the participation of other EU countries.
This list can continue. However, it is an unavoidable exigency for Germany to cooperate sincerely with Turkey on terrorism, which poses a serious threat to Turkey and the entirety of Europe. Turkey has been fighting a total war against terror not only inside Turkey, but in Syria and Iraq as well. The world owes the dissolution of Daesh to Turkey. Likewise, all the other terror groups in the region including the PKK, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the People's Protection Units (YPG) are in decline thanks to Turkey's efforts despite the so-called allies of Turkey who provide support to the terror groups.
Germany must also make a self-criticism and revise its strategies and concepts pertinent to terror groups. Germany should not turn into a land where militants of the PKK and other terror groups take refuge. Unfortunately, the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which attempted a military coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016, is among the terror groups whose members Germany hosts. Germany is a country upholding democracy and taking a harsh stance on all the coups in view of the lessons learned from history. During the time of the Greek military junta, Germany opened its doors to all the democrat Greeks who fled from the junta but did not allow a single junta member or supporter when the regime of colonels collapsed. The country should certainly be proud of this.
Then, why does Germany open its gates to pro-coup FETÖ militants? According to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), 15,654 Turkish citizens took refuge in Germany after the July 15 coup attempt. A total of 5,700 Turkish citizens requested asylum in Germany in 2016 while the number reached 8,500 in 2017. According to the data released by BAMF, among those who fled to Germany between 2016 and March, 2018, there are 222 people with diplomatic passports and 771 with green passports. Although the exact number is not given, a large number of high-ranking officials who took an active part in the coup attempt are currently in Germany.
By hosting these militants and their proponents, Germany is doing the greatest harm to itself in the long run. I do not have the slightest doubt about that since FETÖ operatives are very adept in infiltrating state apparatuses. Germany must be very careful about the threat they pose for the country's own good.
All in all, FETÖ members constitute the greatest impediment to the improvement of Germany-Turkey relations. They are above all undermining Germany's interests by trying to hamper and sabotage these relations. Hopefully, Germany can see this truth as soon as possible.