SPD chair's talk on financial aid to Ankara stirs criticism among German politicians

Germany's Social Democratic Party leader Andrea Nahles says an economic aid to Turkey is possible as Chancellor Angela Merkel sees no urgency in a financial assistance amid the US-Turkey tension
Wednesday, 22 August 2018 05:42

The chair of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), Andrea Nahles, has said they might provide financial assistance to Turkey amid the tension between Washington and Ankara over the house arrest of US pastor Andrew Brunson. Her statement has stirred criticism of several German politicians.

The debates on a possible financial aid to Turkey among German politicians have come ahead of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s trip to Germany in September. 

“Regardless of political disputes with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a situation might arise where Germany needs to help Turkey,” Nahles has said, adding that Turkey is a key NATO member that could not be ignored.

The German-Turkish relations were so strained particularly following a failed coup attempt in Turkey in June 2016 as hundreds of high-ranking Turkish officials and diplomats asked for asylum in Germany.

Turkish authorities arrested Deniz Yücel, a dual citizen of Germany and Turkey and a correspondent for the German Die Welt newspaper, in February 2017 on charges of propaganda in support of a terrorist organization. This further escalated the political dispute between Germany and Turkey.

As military arms sales between Berlin and Ankara continued despite the diplomatic tension, both Turkish and German officials rejected the allegations of military material sales in relation with journalist Yücel’s release in February 2018, former German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said, “There were no clean or dirty deals related to Yücel's release.” 

As some German local officials blocked Turkish authorities from holding rallies in German districts ahead of a Turkish referendum in April 2017 that would turn Turkey’s political system into a presidential government system, Erdoğan accused his German counterparts of using “Nazi tactics” against the Turkish citizens in Germany.

However, the economic relations between the two counties never stopped even under severe diplomatic spats. Boasting about ruling Turkey like a CEO, Erdoğan hosted some big German capitalists like industrial monopoly Siemens in his palace in order to market his country despite the president’s demagogy on “national and local productivity”. 


As the Turkish lira has witnessed a freefall against the US dollar amid the recent tension between Ankara and Washington, some German politicians have criticized the SPD leader who has said, “It is everyone’s interest that Turkey remains economically stable,” with regards to the Turkish Lira’s loss of value against the US dollar and the euro.

Annalena Baerbock, the co-chair of the German Greens Party, has demanded some conditions for a possible assistance to Turkey. “The financial assistance could be possible only on condition of a return to the superiority of democracy and law in the country [Turkey],” she has told the German media.

Sharply opposing Germany’s economic assistance to Ankara, Bavarian Finance Minister Albert Füracker from the Christian Social Union has argued that any help to Turkey would not be necessary. Implying Ankara, he has pointed out to the International Monetary Fund for the countries challenged by financial problems.

"There is no IMF plan, we have focused on attracting direct investments," Berat Albayrak, Turkey’s Finance Minister previously said during a conference call with global investors.


Talking at a meeting of her Christian Democratic Union party, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stated that she sees no urgent need to offer financial assistance to Turkey.

“She has made it clear again that she sees no urgency at the moment for a special aid to Turkey,” Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the CDU’s general secretary, has told the journalists. Meanwhile, the German Finance Ministry has declared that “the recent developments in the Turkish economy” would pose a new foreign risk for Germany’s economy.

"Germany would like to see an economically prosperous Turkey. This is in our interest," Merkel previously said during a news conference in Berlin when asked about the economic situation in Turkey. Earlier in late May, she had also invited Turkish President Erdoğan to Berlin for a visit after Turkey’s early presidential and general elections in late June.

Talking on Ankara’s currency crisis, Jens Weidmann, the president of the Deutsche Bundesbank, has made a statement about Turkey’s currency problems. He has said, “The risk is manageable for the German banking sector,” adding that a general loss of credibility impacting developing markets would have an indirect influence on the financial system.

Some Western analysts have argued that the loss of value in the Turkish Lira has also led to a loss in the Euro against the US dollar, creating new concerns on the financial situation of the European Union.