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BARÇIN YİNANÇ >German state has decided a ‘Yes’ result in Turkey suits its interests

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It is not hard to find Turkish diplomats who use extremely critical rhetoric for the “German deep state.” According to them, this “deep state” does not want Turkey to be a member of the European Union and wants the full assimilation of Turks living in Germany. For those who do not want to assimilate, it uses tactics to discourage them from staying in Germany.

There were always suspicions, for example, of German state institutions’ fingerprints on the arson attacks that took place in the 1990s against Turkish houses.

Likewise, Turkish officials have been intrigued by the turn of events in the National Socialist Underground (NSU) murders from 2000 to 2007. In that case, Germany’s domestic security apparatus failed until 2011 to link the murders of nine immigrants and a policewoman to a three-person neo Nazi cell; instead focusing much of its investigation into relatives. Of the three-person cell, two have committed suicide and the remaining third person, Beate Zschäpe, has not revealed much during the trial. 

For the German government, this is a standalone case. “However, the NSU murder investigation and Zschäpe’s trial suggest that the organization may have been carefully supported and protected by elements of the state itself,” according to an article published by the Guardian last December.

Turkish diplomats also accuse the German state of being behind international efforts to recognize the World War II-era killings of Ottoman Armenians as genocide.

These diplomats’ claims could be seen as exaggerations, or as a reflection of the traditional distrust ingrained in the DNA of Turkish diplomats. But looking at developments of the past few days, one is inclined to believe that some decision makers in Germany thought it would be wise to take steps to help secure a “yes” result in Turkey’s April 16 referendum on shifting to an executive presidential system. 

How else could you explain Germany’s consent for the pro-Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) demonstration in Frankfurt over the weekend, while refusing to allow Turkish ministers from holding pro-government rallies in the country? The organizers of the march may have approached the authorities by saying they wanted to mark Nevruz, the New Year celebration. But are we expected to believe that the German authorities are so naive that they didn’t think signs of the PKK, (also outlawed in Germany), would appear during the march?

What’s more, how could they have known that the march would make a call for a “No” vote in the referendum. As if mocking Turkey, German officials have pledged to investigate the appearance of the PKK placards. 

Anyone with brains in Germany knows that the Turkish government has been trying to turn the “Yes” campaign into a show of defiance against Europe. “Look at how they are working with the ‘No’ camp and denying the ‘Yes’ camp the right to speak,” the government is effectively telling the public. “That is because they don’t want to see a strong Turkey. A ‘No’ result would suit the interest of Europe, so vote ‘Yes’ to give a lesson to Europe, which denigrated Turkey for all these years.”

Strangely, it seems that Germany has actually decided a “Yes” vote suits its interests. How else could you explain the German spy agency chief’s March 19 statement that Ankara has failed to convince them that Gülenists were behind the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt. 

The BND head’s statement has nothing to do with trying to protect Gülenists, which Turkish officials accuse of being used by the German intelligence agency. After all, it is the fault of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to have let Gülenists become so influential inside and outside Turkey, so it is only natural that Gülen and his followers have become useful tools in the hands of foreign intelligence. 

How often does the BND head talk to the press, especially about another country? Why this timing with Turkey? The answers to these questions leave no doubt. 

These are not just simple short-term tactics to affect Germany’s general election in September. They can only be part of a long-term strategy to keep Turkey out of the EU, and in fact at an arm’s length from Europe. A “Yes” vote would probably secure another decade of AKP rule in Turkey, which means a 10-year suspension of accession talks.

This is an extremely short-sighted long term strategy, which may not even bring the intended outcomes in terms of German interests.

March/21/2017

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