Giuseppe Sandro Mela.
Nel corso degli ultimi tre lustri i rapporti turko-germanici si sono deteriorati in modo così consistente da generare una minaccia non solo per questi due stati, ma anche per tutta la corolla della alleanze alle quali fanno parte: questa diatriba sta assumendo nel tempo connotazioni internazionali.
Riassumiamo a seguito i soli punti di interesse nel presente articolo, tralasciando alcuni anche di grande importanza ma irrilevanti in questa sede.
– La Turkia soffre fin dalla sua nascita del problema kurdo. Questa etnia, composta da circa trenta milioni di persone, comprendono il 18.3% della popolazione in Turchia, il 15-20% in Iraq, il 6% circa in Siria. In maggioranza sono islamici sunniti, ma una parte non irrilevante è yazidita, alevita e, in quota molto minore, cristiani. Negli stati in cui attualmente vivono, i kurdi vorrebbero poter ambire ad una qualche forma di indipendenza: alcune componenti vorrebbero la piena indipendenza, altre si accontenterebbero di statuti speciali. Da lungo tempo i kurdi che abitano in Turkia svolgono azioni di guerriglia e di attentati terroristici, in questo facilitato dal trovarsi sul confine meridionale turko a ridosso di Siria ed Iraq, fatto questo che pone queste due ultime nazioni all’attenzione strategica dei turki.
– La guerra in Iraq prima, quella civile in Siria dopo hanno destabilizzato la situazione in modo severo. Da una parte ha quasi costretto la Turkia a continui interventi militari camuffati da operazioni umanitarie per tutelare i confini meridionali, dall’altra per cercare di neutralizzare l’ondata di profughi che fuggivano dai teatri bellici, spesso vedendo la Turkia solo come terra di passaggio verso l’Europa. Con l’acuirsi della crisi migratoria, la Turkia ha usato in modo molto disinvolto i migranti come arma ritorsione contro l’Unione Europea, dapprima alimentando la via balcanica, quindi inondando di profughi la Grecia.
– Il giro di boa è avvenuto in occasione del tentativo di colpo di stato in Turkia. L’Occidente ha accusato Mr Erdogan di aver usato la mano troppo forte nello ristabilire la situazione. La Germania, per bocca della sua Bundeskanzlerin Frau Merkel ha preso le posizioni più dure e nette, e si è fatta paladina di ciò che i tedeschi di oggi ritengono essere “diritti fondamentali”. Al momento lo scontro su questo argomento ha assunto toni aspri, con rispettive minacce ed azioni talora poco chiare.
– Questa concezione ha assunto anche aspetti farseschi e grotteschi. In occasione dei contati con l’Arabia Saudita la Bundeskanzlerin ha posto l’osservanza dei suoi valori come conditio sine qua non per continuare a vendere armi all’Arabia Saudita. La risposta è stata tranchant.
«We will not cause any more problems for the German government with new requests for weapons»
Frau Merkel è ritornata a casa con le pive nel sacco. Questo è uno segni di quanto l’ideologia le sia radicata nella mente. Già: come giustamente hanno detto gli arabi, il problema è di Frau Merkel, non degli altri.
– I tedeschi non hanno digerito per nulla che gli oltre tre milioni di turki viventi in Germania fossero in gran parte schierati per Erdogan: avrebbero ben gradito il loro sostegno. E tre milioni di voti hanno il loro peso, specie poi in clima pre elettorale. Non si capacitano che questi turki non si siano ancora “integrati”. Concetto invero molto strano: una cosa è integrarsi nella nazione tedesca ed una totalmente differente personificarsi nei desiderata del cancelliere pro tempore.
– C’è poi un feroce contenzioso sui gasdotti. I tedeschi hanno privilegiato in Nord Stream 2 baltico a discapito del South Stream che avrebbe dovuto traversare la Turkia. Bega tuttora a livello incandescente.
– La bega turko-tedesca è diventata rapidamente un severo problema internazionale. Frau Merkel ed Unione Europea, sostengono in pratica di non voler trattare né avere rapporti con stati che, a loro dire, non rispettano ciò che loro ritengono essere “diritti umani” ed i loro “principi”, ma che gli altri non condividono per nulla. In questa maniera, la bega turko-tedesca va a sommarsi a quelle analoghe che i tedeschi e l’Unione Europea stanno imbastendo con la Polonia e l’Ungheria.
– Da ultimo solo per esposizione, ma primo come gravità, c’è il problema della Nato, cui Turkia, Polonia ed Ungheria appartengono a pieno diritto. La Turkia, che poi gestisce i Dardanelli, forma lo scacchiere meridionale e gli stati del Visegrad quello orientale.
Sarebbe troppo conflittuale litigarsi su tutto e poi sperare di essere solleciti nella comune difesa. Turki, polacchi ed ungheresi non riescono a trovare un buon motivo per cui dover morire per difendere la Germania e l’Europa occidentale. Loro ospitano le basi Nato avanzate ed anche un cospicuo arsenale atomico, deterrente. Se questa bega continuasse sine die, alla fine la Germania si ritroverebbe ad essere lei sulla linea di confine, situazione davvero scomoda per chiunque.
Si faccia molta attenzione. Una disintegrazione della Nato non è un problema interna dei paesi afferenti l’Alleanza: è un problema politico e militare mondiale. Nessuno ne uscirebbe indenne.
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I problemi sono davvero molto complessi e, a nostro personale modo di vedere, tutte le forme di irrigidimento non concorrono a cercare di risolverli.
→ Reuters. 2017-07-22. ‘You belong here,’ Gabriel tells Germany’s Turks
BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany will stand by the three million people with Turkish roots living there, its foreign minister said, offering assurances that they were not Berlin’s targets in a rapidly escalating political row with Ankara.
In an open letter published on Saturday in mass-circulation daily Bild, Sigmar Gabriel said Germany had to look after its own but had no quarrel with Turkish people in either country.
“We must protect our citizens,” he wrote. “However difficult the political relations between Germany and Turkey, one thing is clear: you, people of Turkish roots in Germany belong here with us, whether you have a German passport or not.”
Gabriel’s intervention came after his cabinet colleague, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, compared Turkey’s actions in detaining six human rights activists, including a German, to the authoritarian former communist East Germany.
“We have always striven for good relations with Turkey, because we know that good relations are important for you (German Turks),” Gabriel added in the letter, which was also published in Turkish.
Officials in Germany are increasingly concerned at what they say is large-scale covert activity by Ankara’s security services among Germany’s vast Turkish diaspora.
On Friday, Germany’s head of domestic intelligence said Turkish agencies were carrying out influence operations in Germany, including targeting opponents of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan living in the country.
Bilateral tensions were already high prior to the activists’ arrests after recriminations during a referendum in April on extending Erdogan’s powers and a pullout of German troops from a Turkish air base that began this month.
The arrests were part of a broader crackdown across Turkish society since a failed coup last year.
→ Reuters. 2017-07-21. Berlin reviews Turkish arms requests as crisis deepens
ANKARA/BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany said on Friday it was reviewing applications for arms projects from Turkey, accusing its NATO ally of ramping up covert operations as an attempt by a Turkish minister to calm a deepening bilateral crisis fell flat.
While one minister in Berlin compared Ankara’s behavior over the detention of six rights activists to the authoritarian former communist East Germany, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Germany to “pull itself together”.
Bilateral tensions were already high after bitter recriminations during a referendum in April on extending Erdogan’s powers and a pullout of German troops from a Turkish air base that began this month.
They rose further after Turkey detained the activists, including a German national, in custody two weeks ago.
Turkey’s economy minister sought to calm matters but Erdogan, renewing earlier criticism, accused Berlin of trying to scare German companies away from investing in Turkey.
Germany, home to three million people with Turkish roots, said it would review Turkish applications for arms projects. “We’re checking all applications,” an Economy Ministry spokeswoman said.
That means the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (Bafa) probably cannot issue new export approvals, but projects already agreed will not be affected initially.
In 2016, the German government exported armaments worth 83.9 million euros to Turkey. In the first four months of 2017, business worth 22 million euros was approved, for navy deliveries and joint projects with other NATO partners.
Germany has warned Germans traveling to Turkey that they do so at their own risk, and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was quoted on Friday as comparing Turkey with the former communist East German state – the German Democratic Republic (GDR).
“Turkey now makes arbitrary arrests and no longer sticks to minimum consular standards. That reminds me of how it was in the GDR,” he told the mass-circulation Bild newspaper.
Schaeuble said those who traveled to the former Communist East before it collapsed in 1990 were aware that “if something happens to you, no one can help you”.
German officials say they have not had full consular access to arrested German activist Peter Steudtner, who was accused of terrorism – an allegation Berlin has dismissed as absurd. Another German citizen was arrested on charges of links to terrorism earlier this year.
Turkish Secret Services
Germany’s domestic security chief said Turkey had been carrying out ever more covert operations in Germany, especially since a failed coup attempt against Erdogan last July.
“Since the coup attempt and domestic political changes there, we no longer see Turkey’s intelligence service purely as a partner but also as an opponent,” BfV chief Hans-Georg Maassen said.
Covert activities included influence operations targeting Germany-based Turks, with attempts to intimidate opponents of Erdogan.
In March, German authorities barred Turkish ministers from speaking at mass rallies of expatriates backing the president’s referendum campaign. He responded by accusing Berlin of “fascist actions”.
The activist arrests were part of a broader crackdown across Turkish society since last year’s failed coup. More than 150,000 people have been sacked or suspended from jobs in Turkey’s civil service, military and private sector and more than 50,000 have been jailed.
Rights groups and some Western governments say Erdogan is using the crackdown as a pretext to quash dissent. The Turkish government says the measures are necessary given the gravity of the security threat it faces.
They may have extended to German companies.
A security source told Reuters Turkey had sent German authorities a list of over 680 firms it suspected of supporting terrorism.
Turkey’s Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci told Reuters Germany’s behavior in cautioning its citizens over travel to Turkey was “unfortunate”, but he did not see harm accruing to tourism.
So far this year, bookings from Germany have accounted for some 10 percent of Turkey’s tourists.
Last year, the number of foreign visitors to Turkey fell 30 percent amid bombings by Kurdish and Islamist militants, the lowest in nine years. The travel sector contributes about $30 billion to the economy in a normal year.
Commercial links are close.
Germany was Turkey’s top export destination in 2016, buying $14 billion worth of Turkish goods, and the second biggest source of Turkish imports, at $21.5 billion.
German news broadcaster n-tv said it would no longer run adverts that aimed to attract investment in Turkey.
→ Reuters. 2017-07-21. Turkey has over 680 German firms on terrorism black list: security source
BERLIN (Reuters) – Turkey has provided German authorities with a list of over 680 German firms it suspects of supporting terrorism, a German security source said on Friday, ten times the number initially reported by German media.
Die Zeit newspaper had reported on Wednesday that the list included large German companies such as Daimler (DAIGn.DE) and BASF AG (BASFn.DE).
But Turkey’s deputy prime minister, Mehmet Simsek, said on Twitter on Thursday that the report was “completely false.”
→ Reuters. 2017-07-20. Germany steps up economic pressure on Turkey in rights row
BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany told its citizens on Thursday to exercise caution if traveling to Turkey and threatened measures that could hinder German investment there, in a sign of growing impatience with a NATO ally after the detention of rights activists.
The mass-selling daily Bild newspaper, citing government sources, also reported that Berlin was putting arms projects with Ankara on hold.
Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel highlighted alarm at what Berlin sees as the growing unpredictability of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. “Everyone can be affected. The most absurd things are possible,” he said in advice to travelers.
Gabriel broke off his holiday to deal with the crisis after Turkey arrested six human rights activists including German national Peter Steudtner on accusations of terrorism, the latest in a series of diplomatic rows.
Germany, Turkey’s chief export partner, called the allegations absurd.
“We need our policies towards Turkey to go in a new direction…we can’t continue as we have done,” Gabriel told reporters in unusually direct language touching on sensitive commercial matters including corporate investment guarantees.
The Turkish foreign ministry said it would make the “necessary response” to comments it described as one-sided.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu later accused Germany of harboring members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought an insurgency in southeast Turkey since 1984, and the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen that Ankara blames for a failed coup last July.
“As a country providing shelter to PKK and FETO terrorists in its own territory, statements by Germany are just double standards and unacceptable,” Cavusoglu said on Twitter.
Gulen has denied involvement in the coup attempt.
Erdogan says a crackdown, in which roughly 50,000 people have been detained and 150,000 sacked or suspended from the judiciary and journalism to academia, was essential after the failed coup. Domestic and foreign critics accuse him of using a state of emergency as cover to root out opposition.
Juergen Hardt, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party, said the EU candidate country had now “left the path to Europe”. “No one invests in a country…in which the judiciary has been degraded to be a helper of the ruling AKP party,” he said.
Many companies have also been seized since the coup attempt on allegations of links to terrorism.
The foreign ministry in Ankara said Turkey would not make concessions on its judicial independence and struggle against terrorism “for financial matters such as loans, funds or the (European) Customs Union”.
Cavusoglu criticized Gabriel’s remarks, saying threats and blackmail would find no answers in Turkey, and that Germany and Turkey needed to focus on their long-term mutual goals instead.
“We don’t see such threats against Turkey as worthy of a serious country,” Cavusoglu told reporters in Cyprus.
Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin suggested Gabriel’s remarks were intended to win votes at national elections in two months. “They need to rid themselves of this abdication of reason and think rationally.”
Gabriel’s warnings to private as well as business travelers could deal a significant blow to the tourism industry. So far this year, bookings from Germany have accounted for some 10 percent of Turkey’s tourists.
In its new guidance, the foreign ministry said: “People who are traveling to Turkey… are urged to exercise increased caution, and should register with German consulates and the embassy, even for shorter visits.”
Last year, the number of foreign visitors to Turkey fell to 25.4 million amid a spate of bombings by Kurdish and Islamist militants, the lowest in nine years. The travel sector contributes about $30 billion to the economy in a normal year.
Erdogan’s spokesman rejected the suggestion that Germans traveling to Turkey faced any danger. “It is also not acceptable to create doubts in the minds of German investors in Turkey,” Kalin said.
In comments that threatened broader economic consequences, Gabriel said he could not advise companies to invest in a country without legal certainty where “even completely innocent companies are judged as being close to terrorists”.
“I can’t see how we as the German government can continue to guarantee corporate investments in Turkey if there is the threat of arbitrary expropriation for political reasons.”
On Wednesday, newspaper Die Zeit said Turkish authorities had several weeks ago handed Berlin a list of 68 German companies they accused of having links to Gulen.
They included chemicals giant BASF (BASFn.DE), which confirmed it was on a list that had been passed to it by German police, but declined to comment on the allegations.
Turkish deputy prime minister Mehmet Simsek said on Thursday the reports were untrue.
Germany was Turkey’s top export destination in 2016, buying $14 billion worth of Turkish goods. It was also the second biggest source of Turkish imports, at $21.5 billion. Only China, at $25.4 billion, exported more to Turkey.