What can Berlin do to rein in the AKP regime?

The German government is planning a "reorientation" of its relations with Ankara in response to the arrests of human rights activists in Turkey. The government has changed its advice for those wishing to travel to the country and cooperation on armament as well as investments are to be revised.

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Daily Sabah (TR) /

Germany only harming its own interests

Germany will foot the bill in the end, Daily Sabah believes:

“Historically, quality, made-in-Germany products have always been Turkey's first choice. However, if the economic pressure is successful, countries like the U.S., Russia, China, Korea and many EU countries will be very happy to gain the business. Even if it is not the same quality, it will not be hard to meet the country's needs. Do the ministers really want to lose the profitable Turkish market? What kind of an explanation can those who have provoked hostility toward Turkey to gain votes give German industrialists and their employees operating in Turkey? ... In the end, those deepening the crisis between the two allies are only working to harm Germany.”

The Economist (GB) /

A dangerous demonstation of power

German-Turkish relations are being permanently harmed by populist tactics, The Economist warns:

“Relations between the two countries, already at their most toxic in decades, now seem destined to deteriorate further. ... Even if Germany and Turkey manage to contain this falling-out, fresh disagreements appear to be inevitable. Mr Erdoğan has made a habit in the past of whipping up anti-Western sentiment ahead of elections. European politicians, having found that tough talk on Turkey is popular with their voters, are beginning to reciprocate. Many Dutch ones did so in their election in March, and some in Germany will surely repeat the tactic as its national election approaches in September. The Turkish president has started a dangerous game.”

Yeni Şafak (TR) /

Germany wants to marginalise Turkey

According to the pro-government daily Yeni Şafak German-Turkish relations were never as bad as they are now. For the paper this is clearly down to Germany, which

“wants to ruin its relationship with Turkey for good. This state of affairs paves the way for a Qatar-style embargo against Turkey. The stress on economic sanctions points to this. By defining Turkey as an 'unsafe country' Germany wants to scare German tourists in Turkey. The withdrawal of state guarantees is aimed at stopping German investments. Mainstream politics in Germany wants to marginalise Turkey.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Mutual dependence will prevent escalation

De Volkskrant counters that the dispute between Berlin and Ankara won't escalate any further:

“Germany has many reasons right now not to take tougher action against Turkey. It doesn't want to alienate the three million Turks living in Germany. A deterioration of the bilateral relations could also have negative consequences for the nine Germans who are detained in Turkey for political reasons. … And then there's the refugee deal which requires a functioning relationship with Ankara. … Germany and Turkey are caught in a web of mutual dependencies. This fact will continue to cause frustration. But it is also a guarantee against rapid escalation.”

Der Standard (AT) /

A major blow for Turkey

It's high time serious measures were taken against Turkey, Der Standard concludes:

“So great are their delusions and hubris, and perhaps also their fear of losing control over the country and the voters, that those in charge in Ankara have adopted a collision course with Germany apparently without properly considering the consequences. They stress the independence of their justice system but the administration of justice in Turkey contradicts them - the trumped up charges, the way in which the presidential palace and the minister of justice control the courts' actions. The consequences of the 'reorientation' in the relations will be significant. Travel warnings and suspended investments will hurt Turkey. Others in the EU will follow the Germans' example. ”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Erdoğan criticism as an election campaign weapon

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung suspects that election considerations are behind Gabriel's harsh criticism of Ankara:

“The current SPD candidate for chancellor Martin Schulz is desperately looking for topics with which to challenge Chancellor Angela Merkel, who seems so firmly in the saddle. So in recent days he came up with the idea of criticising Merkel's Turkey policy as too tame, notwithstanding the fact that it has been supported by SPD foreign ministers for almost eight years. … What came out in the end here reflects the realities of the difficult relations with Turkey more than the arguments of contender Schulz. Gabriel was applauded for his tough talk. But if we look more closely it contained nothing that will immediately change the bilateral relations.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Don't slam the door shut

Those who call for drastic sanctions must also point to the risks and side-effects of such a measure, taz admonishes:

“As bad as the situation is now, it can still get worse. Key word: the death penalty. To simply go ahead and try out what happens after a complete break with Ankara would be reckless - as regards the prisoners but also as regards the German-Turkish community. It's a fine line to tread. Gabriel and Merkel must make it clear to Erdoğan that his human rights violations will not be without consequences - while at the same time keeping options for cooperation open. To slam the door shut would be just as irresponsible as to not take any action.”

Milliyet (TR) /

Even kebabs don't taste as good these days

The Turks and Germans are becoming increasingly alienated, Milliyet observes:

“It looks as if the tensions in the leadership ranks are reflected on the street. While the governments give each other ultimatums on an almost daily basis, the distance between the two populations is more evident than ever. Even kebab sales are going down in Germany, for example. And whereas the Germans used to prefer spending their holidays in Turkey they don't even think of flying there today. ... It would be good if the ice that separates the two countries thawed completely. That would allow us to combine our speed with their high quality standards and realize far larger joint projects. And by the looks of it that's just what both countries urgently need.”