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Economic Relations between Turkey and Germany

This paper examines the economic relations between Turkey and Germany, Turkey’s number one trade partner for over a century. It first ascertains that the relations between the two countries are based on mutual interests rather than “historical friendship” or “brotherhood of arms.” Second of all, this paper explains, with data, how trade and mutual investments between Turkey and Germany have been developed. Third of all, this paper determines that the level of economic relations between Turkey and Germany is lower than it should be, considering their foreign policy orientations based on economic interest. Lastly, this paper underlines potential areas of contribution to the development of expanded economic relations.

Economic Relations between Turkey and Germany
Chancellor Angela Merkel attended the General Assembly of the Turkish-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce on trade relations between the two countries at the Haus der Deutschen Wirtschaft in Berlin on June 24, 2013. AA PHOTO / CÜNEYT KARADAĞ

“History unites or separates people and peoples. But I am certain that the German and Turkish peoples will stand not against each other but side by side in future centuries.”1

"Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq"

As an ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from the Holy Roman Empire and the King of Germany Charles V, Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq officiated in İstanbul between 1554 and 1592. Do the above remarks by Busbecq on the future of Turkish-German relations reflect the truth or do they simply remain a wish? Close cooperation between the two peoples in the late 19th century and their alliance in World War I helped the formation of long years of a brotherhood in arms (Waffenbrüderschaft), and the two states established by these peoples “stood together” as Busbeck had wished. However, as a result of the negative approach adopted by Germany in the 1980s towards the full membership of Turkey in the European Union (EU); and later on, its support or tolerance of outlawed terrorist organizations posing a security threat to Turkey,2 ensuing skepticism has led to an opinion that the States of Turkey and Germany, though not the Turkish and German peoples, no longer stand together but have begun to stand against each other.

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Call for Paper | Politics of the Balkans and Future Perspectives