Tabnak – As the diplomatic row between Germany and Turkey grows, Berlin is increasingly showing signs of a tighter approach toward Ankara. After warning its citizens about travelling to Turkey, the German government has talked about completely revising its relationship with Turkey.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in Berlin on Thursday that Germany would review state guarantees for foreign investment in Turkey and would urge businesses against putting their money there. Gabriel said that Berlin would also review its support for EU financial flows to the long-time aspirant to membership of the bloc.
The new measures come after Ankara's arrests of human rights activists. Experts say these stinging measures will strongly impact tourism and investment in Turkey.
Germany’s chambers of commerce say that in the current environment investing in Turkey is hard to contemplate. According to Euronews, trade between the two amounted to around 37 billion euros in 2016 and Germany remains Turkey’s most important trading partner.
Germany has also hinted that preferential trade tariffs might be in jeopardy – currently Turkey is the only state outside the bloc to enjoy a customs union with the EU.
Responding to Gabriel’s remarks, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country wouldn’t give in to threats. "Germany knows very well that the Turkish people have never bent in the face of any threats or blackmail,” Cavusoglu said. "We will evaluate these threats made to us with the same state seriousness and we will of course respond.”
The Atlantic notes in a report that the new low in relations was sparked July 5 when Turkish authorities arrested six people, including Peter Steudtner, a German human-rights activist, and Idil Eser, Amnesty International’s country director in Turkey, for their alleged links to terrorism. Earlier this year, authorities arrested Deniz Yucel, the Turkey correspondent for Die Welt, also for his alleged links to terrorism.
On the other hand, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed that Germany has supported the coup attempt against him, and wants Berlin to hand over two Turkish general who applied for asylum in Germany after the failed putsch.
In the same vein, Germany said last month that it would withdraw its forces from a military base in southern Turkey after Erdogan’s government refused to guarantee visits to forces there by German lawmakers, which lawmakers are required to do under the German Constitution.
"This is the worst crisis between Turkey and Germany since World War II, when Turkey and Germany took their places on the opposite camps even though Turkey did not enter the war,” Huseyin Pazarci, a professor of international relations in northern Cyprus, said to Bloomberg. "Political and trade relations with Germany have been steadily improving since it began receiving Turkish workers in 1960s.”
As Ankara’s strict policy against social activities is a source of its current row with Berlin, it should be noted that Ankara has been engaged in suppressing the media, activists and opposition groups, who are believed to have played a role in the failed coup.
Over 50,000 people have been arrested and some 150,000 others sacked or suspended from a wide range of professions, including soldiers, police, teachers, and public servants, over alleged links with terrorist groups.