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In this article relationships of Turkey and Germany will be researched from historical, cultural and social aspects. We will also analyze the communication and interaction aspects of these two cultures having different cultures.


When the we examine the relations between Germany and Turkey, we ca observe that the fundaments of the relations between two countries in fact have been laid centuries before and keeps continuing until today. It is observed that the relations between Germany and Turkey have started in political means back during the years when Ottomans have reached out to Europe. In 16th and 17th centuries when the Ottoman have been most powerful and most wide spread over Europe, in addition to the fact that there has not been a border neighborhood between two countries, it is known that in the unification of Europe against Ottoman, Political Societies of Germany have taken their place among such European Countries with caution and presented an amicable approach. Back in the time of the Ottoman Emperor Suleiman the Magnificent, V. Karl who has been holding in his hands the whole of Germany and Austria and some parts of Italy has appointed Cardinal Busbecq in 1554 as the Ambassador of Austria with full authorizations before Ottoman State, he has written to Emperor V. Karl and to the leaders of the German State many letters full of compliments to Ottoman State and Sultan Suleiman. He has recommended the precautions to be taken against the superior powers of Turks in military affairs. In 1556, following the death of V. Karl The Unity of Germany disrupted and small German Princedoms have emerged over the geographical area of today’s Germany. II. Ferdinand having sat on the throne of Prussia in 1740 and his son I. Wilhelm following after him, with the strategic reasons, have put great emphasis on developing the friendship with the Ottoman Empire which has been the most powerful country of its time. In 1755 King Of Prussia II. Ferdinand has appointed count Carlo E. Rexin as an ambassador in Istanbul. In 1761”Peace and Amity Treaty” between Prussia Kingdom and Ottoman Empire represented by Grand Vizer Koca Ragip Pasha and Carlo E. Rexin. Basing on this treaty, Ottoman Ambassador Ahmed Rasim has been sent to Berlin in 1763 as the ottoman Ambassador as being the first ambassador assigned at this country. At the era of III. Selim, in 1970, the Amity Treaty between two countries was renewed.


19th century is regarded as the start of a new era in Turkish-Germany relations. The two sided political relations which had a long past has been converted to military and technical cooperation at this era and in time it has spread to commercial and cultural areas. The French admiration which had great impact on the Ottoman Administration during the century before has started to leave its place to German Admiration in 19th century.


As the result of the 1877-78 Ottoman-Russia War, when Sultan II. Abdulhamid needed foreign aid, he was tended to supply this aid primarily form Germany but not from England and French.  The Ottoman Empire, by having applied to the German banks for foreign loans, has been inducing the public of the Germany to make an investment in the Ottoman Empire. Sultan Abdulhamid, by giving the Baghdad project to the German Deutsche Bank, on one side have opened the path for the German investors to invest in Ottoman Empire and on the other hand tried to brake down the lading position of the Ottoman Bank on the Ottoman Finance which was under the influence of French. The increasing Economical investments of Germany has introduced a new formation along with itself as it started to contradict with the abstaining politics of Bismarck about the astern question.


Turkish-German relations have reached its climax during the time of II. Abdulhamid. During this process both of the nations had the chance to know each other better. Yet, some of the Germans who had the chance to know Turkey and the Turkish People better, have not abstained from expressing the sincere feeling they had towards Turkish people. Thus, Von der Goltz, in relation to Turkish people, stated that “Educated Turkish Soldiers are very close to Prussians regarding the opinions and disposition”. Again during the same term Kannenberg names the Turkish as the “German of the east”. Ernst Jaeckh in Moltke’s Turkey letters the Turkish people are described as “the gentlemen of the east, honest, decent, satisfied and clever, brave and loyal.”


In Germany, which could not achieve its targets in World War 1, in 1933 National Socialist Labor Party has come to power. Along with this change of the power significant changes have occurred both in the foreign and domestic policies of Germany. In 1938 the World War II has started following the invasion by Hitler, the Austria’s section where there is an intense German speaking language. During the World War II, Turkey having come out of the first world was with great impacts preferred to be impartial during this world war. In 1941, “Nonaggression Treaty” was signed between Turkey-Germany. However, following the change of the course of the war Turkey declares war against Germany on 23 February 1945 which was in fact definitely loose the war. This declaration of war was political and even one bullet had not been shot against the German Soldiers.


Following the World War II, the German Had great losses and was invaded thoroughly. The regions invaded by ABD, England and French were unified to establish the Federal German Republic and on the regions which were invaded by the Soviet Union Democratic German Republic was established. While the West Germany was being rules by the open market economy the Eastern Germany was ruled by the Soviet Economic System. The fast development of West Germany with the open market economy has raised the lack of labor. Therefore, starting from 1960’s Germany started to accept skilled or unskilled human power from Turkey. Filling the gap of manpower in Germany with the manpower supplied from Turkey has accelerated the political, cultural and economical relations between two countries. The Turkish Population settled in Germany has increased. There started to emerge cultural alikeness and developments between two countries.


Along with the influence of Luxemburg decisions, Turkey-Germany relations having gone through one of its most depressed terms in history has gained its dynamism again in 1999. In this development, the government change in Germany had a great influence. In the general elections held in 1998 September, CDU/CSU – FDP coalition which has been ruling for 16 years under the Presidency of Helmut Kohl has left its place to SPD- Greens under the Presidency of Schröder. SDP-Greens Government, starting as of the first day of their ruling, has declared that they have the intention to make the German-Turkish relations gain its warmth following the cold weather after Luxemburg AB Summit and they will be following a different attitude in relation to Turkey comparing to that of Kohl’s Government. Within this frame, it is declared that religion and culture differences are not an obstacle before the membership to EU, the doors of EU are open to Turkey, and Turkey may enter the EU if the Copenhagen Criterions are fulfilled by Turkey. The German Government, pan the path leading to Helsinki Summit, has continued its efforts to officially register Turkey and a EU candidate. Personally Schröder and Foreign Minister Fischer have revealed their personal supports in this issue with theirs contacts under the frame of EU. At the EU Helsinki Summit, which was held between 10th -11th December 1999; it will not be wrong to say that Germany had a great influence for the official recognition of Turkey as a candidate to participate in EU. The efforts of the SPD- Green Government to integrate to the society the Turkish People living in Germany had been another aspect having a positive influence on the bilateral relations.


The German Government’s supports to Turkey had been not only in political fields but also in other fields. It can be considered that the sincere aid and the cooperation revealed by the German Government and People in the two big consecutive earthquake disasters occurred in Turkey in 1999 had an influence on carrying the relation of two countries into a positive atmosphere.


Despite two world wars encountered during the most recent three centuries we have been through; a bunch of unique relationships have been established between these two countries which had never made a war. The existence of Turkish Citizens in Germany of which the population has reached 2.5 millions, and as approximately 70 thousand German Citizens are residing in Turkey; this situation has given an exceptional dimension to the relationships between Turkey and Germany. Today in the companies in Germany which belong to Turkish Businessmen approximately 200.000 thousand people are employed. The annual turnover of these countries has reached 45 billion marks. More than three millions German Tourists is visiting Turkey in one year. More than 4000 German Companies are active in Turkey. Germany has turned out to be the number one partner of Turkey in fields such as foreign Trade, financial and technical cooperation, tourism and defense industry. Following the visit of the President of the Germany republic on September 2010, the significance of Turkish and German relations is emphasized. As the German language gained its importance once again, the interchange works in science and culture have been expanded. In 2010, for the first time in Turkey a State University called Turkish-German University was established. AT the opening ceremony of this University the Republic Presidents of both countries have participated. German republic’s President Christian Wulff, declaring that Turkish-German University is going to be one of the significant aspects of Turkish-German cooperation, stated that” It will provide great contributions to the Dynamism of Turkey and to the Turkish-German Amity”.

From past to present relations between Germany and Turkey

​         By Elvin Aghayev, IIPRC, September 25, 2014