The policy of the new German government towards Turkey


The Social Democratic Party (SPD) will probably strive to establish a constructive relationship with Turkey. This, in turn, will lead to tensions within the German coalition government, Daily sabah writing.

During Angela Merkel’s time, there were a few highs and many lows in German-Turkish relations. In the period of the new coalition government made up of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Green Party and the Free Democratic Party (FDP), relations will not improve, they may even worsen. An investigation by the European Council on Foreign Relations in June 2021, which was also carried out in Germany, found that Germany sees Turkey as a greater rival or adversary than Russia and China. This result may seem surprising, because Russia and China are undisputed influential global players unlike Turkey, which is more of a regional player. However, this survey shows how important Turkey is in public opinion and politics in Germany and Europe.

Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) was largely left behind in its attitude towards Turkey. Compared to the SPD-Green government of 1998-2005, the Gerhard Schröder-Joschka Fischer government was very friendly towards Turkey and one of the main initiators of the country’s accession process to the European Union in 2005. At that time , Merkel, in opposition to the CDU, had clearly taken a stand against Turkey’s accession to the EU.

Several years later, we could observe a clear change from the SPD and the Greens towards Turkey. In 2017, then SPD candidate for chancellor Martin Schulz said that if elected chancellor the EU membership process with Turkey would be abandoned. The Greens have already made their position clear. In 2013, the green politician and current vice-president of the Bundestag Claudia Roth participated in the Gezi protests and demonstrated against the government. The FDP was and remains faithful to the line of the CDU regarding its Turkish policy with its distanced attitude. Therefore, from Turkey’s point of view, it is necessary to prepare for a diplomatic partner with whom it will be quite difficult to find consensus in the negotiations.

Holiday programs

The party programs of coalition members mention Turkey in several thematic areas, including migration, security policy and NATO. In their party platforms, the SPD and FDP promote the need to create safe routes for refugees to Europe due to migration issues, defending the Geneva Conventions on refugees and preventing refoulements as these ci violate human rights. The latter is very paradoxical, since on the EU side, it is above all the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen who defended the attacks by Greek soldiers against the refugees in March 2020, thus legitimizing their actions. In addition, it is also very striking that the SPD and the FDP do not mention Turkey in the context of migration issues, although Turkey is the most important partner of the EU and Germany in terms of cooperation. migratory.

The Greens, on the other hand, mention Turkey quite explicitly in this context. Their party’s platform states that the EU-Turkey deal must end, as this deal would undermine international asylum rights. Nevertheless, the Greens have supported financial and logistical support to third countries like Turkey. The Greens are known to defend the rights of refugees. But they are also known for their tough stance on Turkey. By terminating the EU-Turkey deal, the Greens aim to further limit Turkey’s capacity for action and reduce the EU and Germany’s dependence on Turkey.

Security, NATO and Turkey

In its party program, the FDP clearly indicates that Turkey is a very important and “indispensable” partner of NATO and pleads for a reduction of “tensions in the matter of security policy”. They also add that there would always be “a Turkey after President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan”. The SPD does not explicitly mention Turkey in its party platform, but it does give concrete examples of military operations in Libya and Azerbaijan, strongly criticizing them and saying that NATO as a community should punish such operations at the same time. ‘to come up. The Greens also criticize Turkey’s military operations without explicitly naming them and add that German arms exports to war zones and “dictatorships” should be stopped. In addition, the Greens say they want to “raise the issue of the Turkish military offensive in northern Syria, which is contrary to international law, to NATO”.

In terms of security policy, we can see a coherent line between the three coalition parties towards Turkey. However, SPD should be highlighted in this context. The SPD and the future Chancellor Olaf Scholz, despite their distant attitude, will most likely lead a security policy towards Turkey based on rational foundations. Although the Greens can provide the foreign minister, the politics of the SPD party will most likely prevail. The reason is simply that, in the Federal Republic of Germany, the Chancellor usually takes foreign policy decisions and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is rather a symbol without any real decisive influence. That is why the Greens’ calls should not be taken too seriously.

Compared to the Merkel period, the future coalition government will pursue a much more ambiguous policy towards Turkey. While in Merkel’s time, Germany was interested in finding solutions to the problems with Turkey, this cannot be expected from the future coalition government. The liberal FDP and the social-liberal Greens will have different approaches to Turkish politics compared to the SPD. However, the SPD can be expected to win in most cases. This can be seen as a problem for Turkey. However, this will be a bigger problem for the coalition government, as disagreements will create tension and these tensions will negatively affect other areas of government as well.


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