The term “partnership” in German has a strictly business connotation without any hint of friendship or affection. A partner is someone with whom you participate, a teilnehmer; partnership is an open business relationship, offene Handelsgesellschaft. While the term can extend to a partner on a sports team, a colleague, or even a marriage, its neutral meaning is what is intended in this discussion of the contemporary Germany-Turkey relationship. Although there is little warmth or identification in this partnership today, it is founded on real mutual interests and dependencies that are more important than the lack of common values or mutual admiration. Germany and Turkey have a special relationship unique among European countries, as they are linked by the large population of people of Turkish origin living in Germany, which totals 3 million people. Add to this an extensive economic relationship and important strategic concerns, especially regarding refugee flows, and the result is two closely interwoven polities. Yet today, these interests are under greater stress than at any time in the past decade, as the gap in national values and identification has widened. A recent public opinion poll in Germany indicates that Turkey ranks lowest in trust as a partner among eight key countries, and the clashes at the highest levels of government have been unprecedented.
This paper looks at how the complex and intertwined relationship between Germany and Turkey is viewed in Germany. It examines the political legacy of the Angela Merkel years and her policies toward Ankara, the views of the general German public and of the main German political parties, and the impact of the large Turkish-origin population living in Germany. It also examines the German-Turkish economic relationship and the clash between values and interests in German policy, which have come into a high state of tension in the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis, the failed military coup in Turkey, and what Germans consider Turkey’s “hostage diplomacy.” It concludes that Germany needs to take a long-term approach in dealing with Ankara and should pursue a policy toward Turkey as a whole, rather than a policy aimed strictly at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Brookings Senior Fellow and former U.S. State Department Special Envoy on Climate Todd Stern spoke at the US Climate Action Center, at the COP 24 UN climate negotiations, on the future of the Paris Agreement in Katowice, Poland on December 10, 2018.
[On the U.S. negotiating team at the COP 24 climate negotiations in Katowice, Poland] They work seriously, effectively and knowledgeably. There is only this technical negotiating team, not a political one.
[John Bolton’s statement that the North Koreans “have not lived up to the commitments” made in Singapore] totally cuts Secretary of State Pompeo and the special representative, Steve Biegun, at the knees. What is the incentive for North Korea to actually talk about the meat-and-potatoes of denuclearization with the special representative and with the secretary of state if the national security adviser has said nothing is happening so we have to go straight to the top?