In no other country does the development of the Turkish society meet with such a large response as it does in Germany. The relationship between these two countries is closer than the relation between Turkey and any other European country, and there are reasons for this.
First, the economic aspects must be looked at: The trade between the two countries has its advantages, not only for Germany but also for Turkey. Turkey benefits in particular since Germany is its biggest trade partner with a trading volume of 36,8 billion Euros in 2015.
Second, migration plays a significant role in the bilateral relation between the two countries.
50 years of Turkish migration to Germany and nearly three million people with Turkish origins living in Germany have raised many topics and debates in society, such as the commitment of foreigners living in Germany to the German cultural environment, multilingualism, multiculturalism, dual nationality, as well as the role of religion in society.
Turkish newspapers and the media report frequently on political topics in Germany, especially topics concerning the situation of people with a Turkish background or the German attitude towards Turkish politics or Turkey itself.
Also, in Germany, a lot of newspaper articles about Turkey can be found and people are very interested in knowing what happening in their friends’ country.
In addition to this, Turkey is an attractive destination for German tourists, which influences the way Germans think about Turkey and the image they have of this country.
All in all, one could say that the two countries are on friendly terms with each other.
This explains why Germans are worried about what is happening in Turkey at the moment.
The arrest of several employees of the newspaper Cumhuriyet caused demands in society for the German government to express more protest against the developments in Turkey.
As a consequence, a number of German politicians criticized the alarming situation of the country and the conduct of the Turkish president Erdogan. For example, Germany’s federal president Joachim Gauck said that if Ankara used the attempted coup d’état in order to annul the freedom of the press de facto and exploited justice, and the Turkish president introduced death penalty again, then the basis of rule of law would be suspended and Europe would have to respond to it.
According to chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany’s solidarity is with the Turkish journalists and all those trying to resist the difficult conditions concerning the freedom of the press and the freedom of speech.
Erdogan was not delighted with Germany’s attitude towards his politics and as a counter move expressed criticism of Germany.
In times like these, we will see if the friendship between these two countries will stand the test!
By Anna Körfer