GermanyTurkey: It’s about more than just migration

Dunya Executive - - POLITICS - TEPAV OCTOBER 27 GUVEN SAK

The German-Turkish rapprochement that President Erdogan launched during his last visit to Berlin in September is still in full swing. Once more, I heard that slipshod comment: “It’s all about the migration issue. Merkel needs it badly!” someone was saying. That is not correct. The cooperation goes beyond the migration issue. The relationship between the two countries has a long history...The ThyssenKrupp Group started its Turkish operation only this year, joining more than 7,500 other German companies operating in Turkey today. So there are at least 7,500 reasons for the German-Turkey rapprochement...The migration issue is only a very recent addition to a long list of reasons for strengthening German-Turkish ties. The Turkey-EU migration deal is still doing its job, turning Turkey from a transit to a destination country. Now Turkey has around 3.5 million Syrian refugees, stretching all sorts of public services. But those Syrians have also established around 10,000 registered companies. More than 72 percent of Syrian company owners are not thinking of going back to Syria...This should not be surprising. Just as rich economies like the United States have grown on European refugees throughout history, Turkey grows on refugees from the Islamic world. The only difference is that it gets paid for it in Euros...What’s in it for Europe? As long as Turkey’s economy flourishes, it will continue to absorb the migrants, keeping them off the minds of European voters. This is what makes customs union modernization all the more important. Turkey is realigning itself with the West in general, and with Germany in particular due to a genuine interest in economic transformation.

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