German companies need assurances about rule of law in Turkey: Minister
BERLINAnkara needs to ensure the rule of law and establish reliable conditions to facilitate continued investment by German companies in Turkey, a top German official said on May 8, as Turkey and Germany pledged to set aside political tensions and work on further developing economic and trade ties.
German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries, speaking after meeting her Turkish counterpart Nihat Zeybekci, noted that the current bilateral trade volume and investments totaled 12 billion euros. She said Germany was “Turkey’s most important business partner” and Berlin was keen to expand business ties.
“But we need clear assurances about legal securities,” Zypries told reporters, as quoted by Reuters.
“The rule of law is a central requirement for the German government and German industry. Companies need reliable framework conditions to make investment decisions,” she added.
Zypries said a joint economic commission was due to meet at the end of the year and a German-Turkish energy forum would also be reactivated.
Bilateral ties have been strained since last year when, after a failed coup in July, Turkey launched a massive crackdown. It also jailed Deniz Yücel, the German-Turkish correspondent of the daily Die Welt, as a “terrorist agent.”
Zypries said Germany was eager to enhance economic and trade ties with Turkey and to maintain closer dialogue on political differences.
“It is always better to talk to each other, instead of talking about each other,” she said, as quoted by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency.
“I strongly believe that our meeting today is the first step towards a constructive and a fact-oriented dialogue,” Zypries added.
Bilateral trade volume ‘could soar to 70 billion euros’
Zeybekci was the first Turkish minister to visit Berlin since Turkey’s April 16 referendum, which had strained ties between Ankara and European capitals.
He vowed that Ankara remains committed to the principles of democracy, the rule of law and human rights, and is also ready for discussions with European partners on these issues, Anadolu Agency reported.
However, Zeybekci underlined the difficulties that Turkey faced after the foiled July 15 coup attempt last year, criticizing the EU’s alleged failure to show strong solidarity with Ankara after the plot.
He also said the bilateral trade volume could double to 70 billion euros a year.
Key economic meetings ahead
During Zeybekci’s visit, Turkish and German delegations agreed to step up preparations for the first Joint Economic and Trade Commission (JETCO) meeting between two countries, a major annual gathering that would bring together senior representatives of business sectors from both countries.
The delegations also agreed to hold a Turkish-German Energy Forum in the first half of this year.
EU heavyweight Germany is Turkey’s main economic and trade partner. In 2016, the bilateral trade volume exceeded 37 billion euros, and German foreign direct investments reached 13 billion euros. Nearly 7,000 German companies are currently active in Turkey, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency.