German–Turkish relations have their beginnings in the times of the Ottoman Empire and have culminated in the development of strong bonds with many facets that include economic, military, cultural and social relations.
With the possible accession of Turkey to the European Union, of which Germany is the biggest member, and the existence of a huge Turkish diaspora in Germany (4 million people estimated), these relations have become more and more intertwined over the decades. Both countries are members of NATO. Relations with Turkey significantly deteriorated after the 2016–17 Turkish purges and Turkey’s turn to authoritarianism including the arrest of journalists such as Die Welt’s Deniz Yücel. (Wikipedia)
From a continental perspective, 54.8% of Turkey’s total exports by value in 2016 were delivered to other European trade partners. Asian importers purchased 28.8% of Turkish shipments while 8% worth arrived in African countries. At 5.5%, a smaller portion of Turkish exports were bought by North American importers.
Turkish immigrants have always been an important dynamic for the social and business life in Germany since October 1961. Nowadays, as Europe battles its never-ending debt crisis, Turkey, with its flourishing economy, has increasingly attracted the attention of German companies, as well as German-born Turks in search of a job. German companies can see a great deal of opportunity in Turkey, particularly in the country’s energy sector.
The Turkish economy is the envy of the crisis-wracked eurozone: its gross domestic product (GDP) has expanded by an annual average 5.4 percent over the past 10 years. Its public debt has fallen below 40 percent of GDP, much lower than the majority of European countries.
Turkey has a population of 74 million, of whom more than 60 percent are 35 years old or younger. And with purchasing power growing from year to year, there is strong demand in areas such as infrastructure, energy, cars and the financial sector.
These are precisely the sectors where German companies excel: out of around 30,000 foreign companies in Turkey, nearly 5,000 are German, according to the German-Turkish chamber of commerce in Istanbul.
Turkish embassy complex in Berlin which is one of Ankara’s largest in the world, symbolises Turkey’s growing activism in international politics, as well as its growing interest in strengthening ties and gaining influence with the Turkish diaspora especially regarding the upcoming referendum in Turkey. All is going according to plan?
- Turkish Exports Per Country
- Turkish Imports Per Country:
- Germany Exports Per Country:
- Germany Imports Per Country:
Data show that Turkey needs Germany ten times more than Germany needs Turkey. Germany is currently an economy more diversified than the Turkish one. However, Turkey has less Government Debt compared to Germany. Germany is in fact Turkey’s main trading partner, accounting for 10 percent of its exports and 11 percent of its imports. Bilateral trade reached a new record of EUR 36.8 billion in 2015.
Germany, in general, tries to avoid behaviors that negatively affect trade with Turkey, and watches out for political problems between the two countries so as not to jeopardize the investments of German firms in Turkey.
From Turkey’s perspective, Germany has always been given importance as Turkey’s number one partner in trade, a country that has sent the highest number of tourists to Turkey for many years, and a host country to millions of Turkish immigrants. Turkey has placed a great emphasis on its economic partnership with Berlin. However, one should note that political problems, which have been difficult to manage at times, remain an obstacle impeding the further development of bilateral relations, in spite of the fact that both Turkey and Germany have adopted the perspective of a “foreign policy focused on economic development.”
*Sources: Wikipedia, the Local.de Trading Economics, OEC, DW.de, Insight Turkey.Com.
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