In the choppy waters of geo-political ties and international diplomacy, perhaps of the very few things that really matter and hold you in a distinguished league, so to speak, is trust. The trust and regard you seem to enjoy in the mind of the other. In that regard, of the many things- trade figures, the nature of foreign policy- that allow Germany a substantive place in the hearts of its allies is pure trust and the degree to which the Western European power is believed and admirably so, by a strong trans-continental partner.
So nothing seems more fitting when it’s mentioned in due regards to Turkey, a country, with whom, Germany enjoys a special relationship.
But here’s a fact. Where Angela Merkel, popularly referred to as ‘Mutti’ or ‘Mummy’ by the German in the streets and even as ‘Angie’ by one of its closest European neighbours, France, is seen as understanding and observant of the respect that a democracy warrants, her Turkish counterpart, Tayyip Recep Erdogan, is seen as a volatile, even aggressive leader of an Islamist-state.
But none of the divergent political traits of the two countries’ leaders seem to have an effect on the German-Turkish ties; which date back to hundreds of years back in the past.
For starters, Turkey’s Erdogan, viewed often by a large chunk of the world as the Xi Jinping-style leader in Transcontinental Europe, listens to Angela Merkel. A prime reason behind this unassuming leaning is down to Ms. Merkel’s smooth, unthreatening diplomatic style.
In fact, so smooth have been the bi-lateral relationships between the two nations that in the past decade or so, it’s been a firm belief that Turkey listens to what Berlin has to say on most things than what Brussels has to offer!
What could be the reason for this rather surprising adulation?
Many of us may find it interesting but the German-Turkish relationship dates back to the beginning of the Modern Age. On current terms, let there be no misconceptions, Germany is Turkey’s most important trading partner.
The Merkel-land, truth be told, is the top destination for Turkish exports. In fact, these close-knit ties, had it not only been related to trade and commerce, may have had an entirely new dimension with regards to Energy, had Germany not already been deeply-routed with Russia, with whom it has a few energy deals.
In fact, in the words of a report published on The New European, here’s what comes to light:
Trade between the two countries totalled around 35.4 billion euros in 2019, with the trade balance in Germany’s favour to the tune of almost four billion. Germany is also one of the top investors inside Turkey with companies like BASF, Siemens, Volkswagen and Daimler all setting up shop there.
But having said the above, are the close ties between two countries with hugely varying topography only down to large trade numbers alone?
Here’s what many of us might find interesting! Germany is home to, at least, four million locals who are of Turkish descent. Does that explain something?