President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to Germany yielded successful and important results for both Turkey and Germany, although some German-based media outlets with anti-Turkish sentiments such as Bild, negatively represented the visit. Those hostile to Turkey strived to sabotage it before and during the visit, but they ultimately failed. These circles went as far as to attempt to invite a criminal to the joint press conference of Erdoğan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the pretext that he was a "journalist." This so-called journalist; however, was tried in absentia and sentenced to five years and 10 months of imprisonment in Turkey for espionage and therefore his extradition is demanded by Turkey. However, these hostile people could not achieve their goals thanks to Turkey's determination and Germany's right approach to this person. So, such provocation attempts were futile.
Along with the Erdoğan-Merkel meeting, the other Turkish ministers also had productive meetings with their German counterparts. As we expected, the visit greatly contributed to the normalization of bilateral relations. Particularly the roundtable meeting, which was attended by the executives of German companies who have undertaken giant projects in Turkey for years, the representatives of a number of banks and leading figures from Germany's business world - which demonstrated that the economic ties between Turkey and Germany are robust and that economic cooperation between the two countries will always continue regardless of political agendas. During this roundtable meeting, Germany's leading and globally recognized companies and bank representatives found the opportunity to share their views and expectations with Erdoğan. Thus, the meeting was a success for both parties.
During the meeting, Erdoğan stressed that foreign trade figures on the activities between Germany and Turkey proved the strong economic and commercial ties between the countries. He added that Turkey is willing to consolidate relations and that the potential of trade relations was displayed by the more than 13 percent increase over the past seven months in bilateral trade volume and the fact that German entrepreneurs have made more than $9 billion of direct investment in Turkey since 2003.
"We expect our German friends to keep their trust in Turkey, the Turkish economy and the future of our country," Erdoğan said, emphasizing that Turkey provides a trustworthy environment to German businesspeople who have made big investments in Turkey and are leaning toward making new ones.
Erdoğan gave very concise messages to Germany during this critical visit. After the visit, he said, "I believe that this state visit to Germany will strengthen the old Turkey-Germany friendship in every way."
On a similar note, he said the visit has made great contributions to the celebration of Turkey-Germany friendship.
Erdoğan's following words perfectly summed up the visit, "The turbulent relations with Germany are left behind, we have the same outlook on the Syrian issue and our economic and trade relations with Germany will continue by growing stronger."
Of course, some problems cannot be resolved with one visit. Yet, this newly emerging dialogue is extremely valuable. Turkey and Germany have deep divergences particularly with regards to the counterterrorism fight. Having successfully fought against terror groups in the region, Turkey has rightfully been criticizing Germany's attitude toward the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and the PKK and expects Germany to give the same effort Turkey exerts. The information exchange between the two countries and negotiations regarding Turkey's expectations on the subject must be maintained. We hope that Germany stops harboring FETÖ and PKK militants.
Erdoğan also stated that the reforms as part of the EU accession process will continue and the six remaining criteria for visa exemption will be fulfilled as soon as possible. He expressed after the visit that: "Turkey's EU accession process must not be subjected to the whims and political restrictions of some circles. We attach importance to Germany's support to Turkey in this regard," which clarified that it is the EU's time to take a step forward.
During the visit, it became clear that Germany and France would also attend the Syria Summit steered by Turkey and Russia. In view of this, the EU must take the normalization of Germany-Turkey relations as an example.
All the subject matters brought to agenda between Turkey and Germany are also crucial for the EU. Consequently, the European Commission must urgently take constructive steps for the solution of the problems with Turkey and catch-up with the pace of the upcoming steps that will be taken between Germany and Turkey in the following months before the Commission's term concludes with the European Parliament election in May 2019.
Turkey, Germany and the EU cannot afford to suffer crises that would undermine the cooperation amongst themselves in the current global context that tackles a slew of problems created by the U.S.
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