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Political Relations between Turkey and Germany

Turkish-German relations go back to the 16th century and have since then been sustained in different realms, such as the military, diplomacy and economy. Naturally, different historical incidents have had different impacts on those relations and have shaped them each in a specific manner. This essay intends first of all to delineate the different stages which Turkish-German relations have undergone through history. Secondly, it will try to reflect on the qualitative changes in Turkish-German relations which have occurred as a result of historical developments. Touching upon issues like Turkey’s possible EU membership, the PKK problem, the rise of Islamophobia in Europe and the NSU case, it will try to elaborate on both the burdens and possibilities which presently underlie those relations.

Political Relations between Turkey and Germany
Political Relations between Turkey and Germany
 

Firstly, it is important to note that reducing the political relations between “Turkey” and “Germany” solely to today’s images of these two nations will provide us a limited historical reality. There have been several moments in history which prove that Turkish-German relations did not start with the formation of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. The occupation of Konya, the then capital city of the Anatolian Seljuk State, by the German King and the Holy Roman Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa (I) in 1190, the 16th and 17th century “Turkish Wars” (Türkenkriege) or “Turkish trophies” (Beutetürken) are still considered strong cultural factors in Germany’s historical perception of Turks. Beside the war encounters one important stage, with regard to over 200 years of Turkish-German political relations, is the year 1790. The Prussian-Ottoman alliance of this year has an important significance for it is the first agreement the German state signed with the Turks and also the first military alliance agreement the Ottomans signed with a European-Christian state.

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