Not only close historic relations ranging from the aid provided for the modernization of the Ottoman military but in contemporary times,
over fifty years of relations only through “Gastarbeiter”, guest workers as they were called at the time are not to be neglected in devising foreign policy for both Turkey and Germany.
Once they were the foreign currency source for Turkey with their postal checks to relatives now in all spheres of society and politics, albeit not necessarily in favour of current Turkish politics.
The third and fourth generation of Turks who are born and brought up in Germany, who are of different political opinions when it comes to Turkey’s internal issues, don’t necessarily take an educated side but more so a sentimental stance levied on them by parents or their respective ghettos. Be it Grey Wolfs fiercely advocating Turk-Islam synthesis devised by founder of MHP Alparslan Turkes back in 1965 and outlined in his controversial Nine Lights doctrine to ancient Turkic nationalism called Turanism. On the other front, many dissidents ranging from pre-historic, romantic communists still sipping their Rakis in fogy Turkish bars around Germany to radical Kurdish separatists to active PKK terror organization operative in the racketeering, human trafficking, narcotics and other criminal activities, as described by the BfV – Bundesamt fur Verfassungsschutz (the domestic intelligence service of the Federal Republic of Germany), available here https://www.verfassungsschutz.de/en/index-en.html.
All Turks, whether they are now German citizens or still carry a Turkish passport suffer from broken relations between the two countries. They want things to improve as soon as possible for their own sake, Turkey’s sake as well as Germany, the country they live, work and feel at home in.
As Angela Merkel pursues her coalition talks to form a government there is some reality check needed on both sides
Turkey needs to own up to mistakes in foreign policy in particular with Germany during the German election and Turkish referendum periods, failure in transparent judicial process of German citizens whereas Germany needs to act on the treaty recognizing the PKK and its entire derivatives and other organically related affiliates as terrorist organizations. Just because the label or door sign does not spell out PKK doesn’t necessarily mean that many civil society organizations present and active in Germany, are not affiliates or supporters.
This of course includes FETO, Fethullah Terror Organization, which the German authorities do not seem to take serious or appear to provide suspects identified by Turkish authorities refuge through the intricate corridors of the German judicial system, which under normal circumstances is quite swift in passing verdicts. Not enough evidence, not clearly defined, not properly put together etc seem to be the current excuse not to hand over FETO suspects, which from the Turkish public opinions point of view only exacerbates the public sentiment against Germany.
Recently, German authorities intervened when PKK sympathizers put up banners and flags sin support of the terror organization. Mounted police, tactical forces and other special units have brought down forbidden materials and took control of over 25,000 protestors when they rallied in Dusseldorf beginning of November. At the same time courts in North Rhine Westphalia had passed a verdict forbidding any posters and banners in support of PKK or Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the terror organization.
These actions by the German government have been met with the Turkish side releasing the German citizen and human rights protestor July Peter Steudtner, who was taken into custody in July 5th, 2017. Der Spiegel has reported that former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder visited President Erdogan to mediate the release.
Furthermore, recent intelligence sharing by both countries’ respective agencies in counter-terrorism has started baring results. Joint efforts and relations such as these will play a great role in bringing Turkey and Germany closer in the coming days.