Turkey accuses Germany of turning ongoing row into crisis before polls
ANKARAGermany has been trying to turn ongoing problems in bilateral ties with Turkey into a crisis because of looming elections, a senior Turkish official has said, accusing German officials of depicting Turkey as an unsafe country for its investors despite numerous high-level refuting statements from Ankara.
“There is no risk or threat. Although we underline this in the strongest way possible, the German government is in efforts to turn this into a crisis because of the approaching elections in September and other reasons,” Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said in televised remarks late July 31.
“We hope they give up this manner. We pursue a more rational and coldblooded stance,” he added.
Relations between Turkey and Germany have been passing through one of its most difficult phases since early this year when the latter banned Turkish ministers’ campaigning in its territories before the April 16 constitutional referendum. The arrest of a Turkish-German journalist, Deniz Yücel, in February and a human rights activist, Peter Steudner, as well as Turkey’s rejection of a group of German lawmakers to visit their troops based in İncirlik base in southern Turkey have further fueled the dispute.
The latest occurred a week ago when Turkey sought information on German companies that had engaged in economic activities with Turkish companies linked with the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) from the German government through Interpol, a move Germany interpreted as Turkey launching an investigation into them. Turkey said it withdrew the request and blamed a communication mistake at the Interpol, providing assurances that there was no probe against any German firms operating in Turkey.
Not fully satisfied with the Turkish government’s move, Berlin now mulls some economic measures against Turkey not only bilaterally but also through the European Union. It called the EU Commission to suspend a process to upgrade the Customs Union with Turkey as well as pre-accession financial assistance.
“The German government is trying to pursue a process through a crisis that does not exist in fact,” Kalın said. Citing factors like the upcoming German elections, anti-Turkey stances in German politics and media, and anti-Erdoğan paranoia, Kalın said doing politics on these and garnering votes have become a routine in German politics.
“On the one hand they criticize and they express their opposition but on the other hand there is dispensability. These problems will continue to exist in different forms as long as this wave that breeds this tension flows,” he stressed.
Kalın said German companies in Turkey are fully aware of the political factors and assured Ankara that they have no concerns about their economic activities in Turkey.
“Germans, instead of making statements like ‘Our companies are under risk’ and ‘Our citizens are not safe,’ they should disallow terror organizations like FETÖ and the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] that are targeting Turkey and its democracy. If we are to talk about democracy, human rights and the rule of law they should first take measures against these,” he added.