Germany is aware of Turkey’s economic difficulties and a long-running game with the Erdogan government has begun, Welt‘s Istanbul correspondent Marion Sendker said in a report.
Under the pretext of the coronavirus pandemic, at least three completely different interests are at stake: money, power and retaliation, Sendker continues. “Now that President Erdogan is so dependent on foreign currency, Germany has the power. The worse the situation in the Turkish economy, the better for German interests in the country. Without the billions in tourism and investment, the Turkish government and Erdogan personally will face even more difficulties than they are already facing – and will thus become even more dependent on Germany.”
“Of course,” he said, “it is no coincidence that Volkswagen announced just a day before the Turkish delegation’s visit to Berlin that it would not build the plant in Manisa, Turkey, as planned. Even if Volkswagen had already set up a subsidiary in Turkey and seemed really interested in implementing the agreement: For several weeks now, the German government has been pursuing an unusually tough policy towards Turkey.”
According to Sendker, “political ambitions are closely linked to Germany’s economic interests. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) has repeatedly stressed in Berlin that Germany now holds the presidency of the Council of the EU. A position of power that should not be underestimated. Maas noted that Cavusoglu is the first non-EU visitor under the presidency. This honour underscores how much Germany is interested in cooperating with Turkey. Accordingly, Maas proposed to Turkey to use this time to address old issues in which problems are identified.”
“Having said that, Maas certainly did not have in mind the release of political prisoners or the improvement of the rule of law in Turkey. Because after the release of about 90,000 prisoners from Turkish prisons as part of an extensive indirect amnesty, no one is now in Turkish custody, the release of which could actually bring something to the German state. And for the revival of the rule of law in Turkey, the six-month presidency is probably too short.”
“For Germany, the challenge lies more in the issues listed by Maas in Berlin: Syria and Libya, which also include the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkish submarines are congested in the area – as is apparently the case with both Russian and American. It is in Germany’s interest for Turkey to withdraw from there – before an accident occurs,” Sendker concluded.