Germany–Turkey relations

Germany–Turkey relations

German–Turkish relations have their beginnings in the times of the Ottoman Empire and have culminated in the development of strong bonds with many facets that include economic, military, cultural and social relations. With the possible accession of Turkey to the European Union, of which Germany is the biggest member, and the existence of a huge Turkish diaspora in Germany, these relations have become more and more intertwined over the decades.
World War II

During World War II, Turkey maintained diplomatic relations with Germany until August 1944. The German–Turkish Non-Aggression Pactwas signed on 18 June 1941. In October 1941, the "Clodius Agreement" (named after the German negotiator, Dr. Carl August Clodius) was achieved, whereby Turkey would export up 45,000 tons of chromite ore to Germany in 1941-1942, and 90,000 tons of the mineral in each of 1943 and 1944, contingent on Germany's supplies of military equipment to Turkey. The Germans provided as many as 117 railway locomotives and 1,250 freight rail cars to transport the ore. In an attempt to prevent the supply of this strategic mineral to Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom went on a spree of what was termed "preclusive buying," buying out Turkish chromite even if they did not need so much of it. As a part of the "package deal," the Anglo-Americans bought Turkish dried fruit and tobacco as well.[1]

In August 1944, the Soviet Army entered Bulgaria and cut overland contact between Turkey and the Axis powers. Turkey severed its diplomatic and commercial relations with Germany, and on February 23, 1945, declared war on Germany.[1]
Accession of Turkey to the European Union
Germany's support to the Turkish bid has not been consistent in the German political arena. Support has varied over time with examples such as former Chancellors like Helmut Kohl, who expressed opposition on the issue, while Gerhard Schröder was seen to be a staunch supporter.[citation needed]

Chancellor Merkel's views on accession
Skyline of Levent financial district in Istanbul, as seen from the Bosphorus. Upon Turkey's accession, Istanbul would become the largest city of the European Union and Turkey would be the largest and most populous EU member.
The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has advocated a "vaguely defined partnership[2] and has opposed full membership of Turkey to the EU.[3][4] Current Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in response in July 2009, "We will never accept a privileged partnership. We want full membership into the EU. We don't want anything else than full membership.”[3]

In 2006, Chancellor Merkel said "Turkey could be in deep, deep trouble when it comes to its aspirations to join the European Union" regarding its refusal to open up its ports to European Union member Cyprus.[5] She added
We need an implementation of the Ankara Protocols regarding unrestricted trade with Cyprus too. Otherwise, the situation becomes very, very serious when it comes to the continuation of Turkey's accession negotiations. I appeal to Turkey to do everything to avoid such a complicated situation and not to lead the European Union into such a situation.

Merkel also said that she could not imagine negotiations continuing without concessions made by Ankara toward opening up its ports to Cypriot ships.[5] The Turkish Government responded by demanding that the EU lift its embargo on the Turkish controlled part of the island in return.[6]
Temporary block of accession talks in June 2013
On 20 June 2013, in the wake of Ankara's crackdown on mass demonstrations in Taksim Square and throughout the country, Germany blocked the start to new EU accession talks with Turkey.[7] According to the Financial Times, one Turkish official said that such a move could potentially break off political relations with the bloc.[7] "The EU needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the EU," Egemen Bagis, Turkey's EU minister stated.[7] "If we have to, we could tell them, "get lost.'"[7] Germany says that its reservation stems from a technical issue, but Angela Merkel has described herself as "shocked" after Ankara's use of overwhelming police force against mostly peaceful demonstrators.[7]

On 25 June EU foreign ministers backed a German proposal to postpone further EU membership talks with Turkey for about four months due to the Turkey's handling of the protests.[8] A delay in opening new chapters for Turkey would raise new doubts about whether the country should ever be admitted to the European Union.[9] In early June in comments on Turkey's possible membership German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not address the compromise proposal but said Turkey must make progress on its relations with EU member Cyprus to give impetus to its membership ambitions. [10][11]
State visits
In 2006, Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Turkey for talks with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on bilateral relations and to discuss accession of Turkey to the EU.[12]
In 2008, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Berlin and met Chancellor Merkel, and also visited Munich. He suggested during the visit that the German government establish Turkish medium schools and that German high schools hire more teachers from Turkey.[13]
In 2011, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made another visit to Germany During a speech in Düsseldorf, he urged Turks in Germany, to integrate, but not assimilate, a statement that caused a political outcry in Germany.[14]
Economic relations
Germany and Turkey have held strong economic ties with one another throughout time. Machinery, electrical goods and motor vehicles and supply parts for the automobile industry account for a particularly large portion of German exports to Turkey. Textiles/leather goods and food, and increasingly motor vehicles and electronic goods, are the principal German imports from Turkey.[15] At present, companies owned by Turkish businessmen in Germany employ approximately 200 thousand people. The annual turnover of these companies has reached 45 billion marks. More than three million German tourists visit Turkey annually. More than 4000 German companies are active in Turkey. Germany has turned out to be the number one partner of Turkey in fields such as foreign trade, financial and technical cooperation, tourism and defense industry.[16]

The Ottoman–German Alliance was an alliance between the German Empire and the Ottoman Empire that was ratified on August 2, 1914, shortly following the outbreak of World War I. The alliance was created as part of a joint-cooperative effort that would strengthen and modernize the failing Ottoman military, as well as provide Germany safe passage into neighboring British colonies.
On the eve of the First World War, the Ottoman Empire was in ruinous shape. As a result of successive wars fought in this period, territories were lost, the economy was in shambles and people were demoralized and tired. What the Empire needed was time to recover and to carry out reforms; however, there was no time, because the world was sliding into war and the Ottoman Empire was highly unlikely to manage to remain outside the coming conflict. Since staying neutral and focusing on recovery did not appear to be possible, the Empire had to ally with one or the other camp, because, after the Italo-Turkish War and Balkan Wars, it was completely out of resources. There were not adequate quantities of weaponry and machinery left; and neither did the Empire have the financial means to purchase new ones. The only option for the Sublime Port was to establish an alliance with a European power; and at first it did not really matter which one that would be. As Talat Paşa, the Minister of Interior, wrote in his memoirs: “Turkey needed to join one of the country groups so that it could organize its domestic administration, strengthen and maintain its commerce and industry, expand its railroads, in short to survive and to preserve its existence.”[citation needed]
Negotiating alliances
Most European powers were not interested in joining an alliance with the ailing Ottoman Empire. Already at the beginning of the Turco-Italian War in Northern Africa, the Grand Vizier Sait Halim Paşa had expressed the government’s desire, and the Turkish ambassadors were asked to find out whether the European capitals would be interested. Only Russia seemed to have an interest – however, under conditions that would have amounted a Russian protectorate on the Ottoman lands. It was impossible to reconcile an alliance with the French: as France’s main ally was Russia, the long-time enemy of the Ottoman Empire since the War of 1828. Great Britain declined an Ottoman request.[citation needed]
The Ottoman Sultan Mehmed V specifically wanted the Empire to remain a non-belligerent nation. However pressure from some of Mehmed’s senior advisors led the Empire to align with the Central Powers. Whilst Great Britain was unenthusiastic about aligning with the Ottoman Empire, Germany was enthusiastic.

Treaty with Germany
Germany needed the Ottoman Empire on its side. The Orient Express had run directly to Constantinople since 1889, and prior to the First World War the Sultan had consented to a plan to extend it through Anatolia to Baghdad under German auspices. This would strengthen the Ottoman Empire's link with industrialised Europe, while also giving Germany easier access to its African colonies and to trade markets in India. To keep the Ottoman Empire from joining the Triple Entente, Germany encouraged Romania and Bulgaria to enter the Central Powers.[citation needed]
A secret treaty was concluded between the Ottoman Empire and the German Empire on August 2, 1914. The Ottoman Empire was to enter the war on the side of the Central Powers one day after the German Empire declared war on Russia.[1] The alliance was ratified on 2 August by many high-ranking Ottoman officials, including Grand Vizier Said Halim Pasha, the Minister of War Enver Pasha, the Interior Minister Talat Pasha, and Head of Parliament Halil Bey.[citation needed]
However, there was no signature from the House of Osman as the Sultan Mehmed V did not sign it. According to the Constitution, the Sultan was the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, and this made the legitimacy of the Alliance questionable. This meant that the army was not able to fight on behalf of the Sultan. The Sultan himself had wanted the Empire to remain neutral. He did not wish to command a war himself and as such left the Cabinet to do much of his bidding. The third member of the cabinet of the Three Pashas Djemal Pasha also did not sign the treaty as he had tried to form an alliance with France. Not all parts of the Ottoman government accepted the Alliance.[citation needed]
Austria-Hungary adhered to the Ottoman–German treaty on 5 August.[2] The Ottoman Empire did not enter the war until the Ottoman Navy bombarded Russian ports on the 29 October 1914.