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The Improvement of Turkish-German Relations in the Background of US Sanctions

© AP Photo / Tolga Bozoglu, Pool

The three-day official visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Germany for the first time in the last four years was perhaps the first and most important step towards normalizing bilateral relations.

At first glance it can be said that at the meeting it was clearly stated that both sides are ready to continue mutually beneficial neighborly relations. The question is what led the leaders of the two countries, who have recently been accusing each other, to improve relations at this very point.

First of all, it should be noted that as a result of the sanctions imposed by the US, the Turkish economy, which was still in the crisis, was more unstable, which threatened Erdogan's position not only within the country but also in foreign policy issues. In such circumstances, the Turkish leader, having no alternative, tries to find contacts with Berlin again.

As for Merkel, let's note that recently, Merkel's policy of "open doors" for refugees has caused serious controversy in the ruling coalition that could lead to Merkel's resignation from the Chancellor's office. If Merkel fails to provide a pan-European solution to the migration issue, Horst Zeehofer, the country's interior minister, may remain loyal to the promise and can ban the entry of migrants to Germany without Chancellor's permission. In this case, even if Merkel decides to dismiss him, then the Bavarians will most likely decide to step out of the government, which will lead to the collapse of the German ruling coalition. In such circumstances, the development of relations with Turkey is again important for Merkel.

Therefore, it is not accidental that during the joint press conference, the leaders of the two countries mentioned that agreements have been reached specifically on economic and migration issues. That is, the issues that are currently in the interests of the two countries. It is worth noting that Turkey is very important for Germany's national interests as there are huge German investments in Turkey and, on the other hand, Turkey guarantees Merkel's policy on immigrants.

It should also be mentioned that besides the economic and migration issues in the current geopolitical situation, the reason for the rapprochement of the two countries is ''the common enemy'', i.e. the United States. In the case of the US, the interests of Berlin and Ankara also coincide. Both countries, being recently sanctioned by the US, are trying to take steps to counter this. This is evidenced by the four-day summit of the leaders of Turkey, Russia, Germany and France to be held in Istanbul. If this meeting is held, it will be a serious step in the direction of weakening US influence in the region...

In summary, it can be said that Erdogan apparently got what he wanted from Berlin. Judging by Merkel's statements, Germany is ready to support Turkey in economic issues. Berlin will help Ankara get out of the crisis, while Turkey will continue to keep refugees in its territory. It is also interesting to note that the travel ban of German journalist Mesal Tulu, who was released several months ago in Turkey before Erdogan's visit to Germany, was canceled. This suggests that Erdogan is ready even to make some concessions in the sphere of human rights protection in the country, which has always been a serious concern for Berlin and has had a significant impact on the deteriorating Turkish-German relations.

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