Relations between Turkey and the Federal Republic of Germany

After having signed a treaty of peace and friendship with the Kingdom of Prussia in 1790, the Ottoman Empire intensified its military ties with Germany, especially during the reign of Abdülhamid II. The relationship between the Ottoman Empire and Germany was not restricted to being allies in World War I, the two countries also cooperated on several large scale investment projects, such as the construction of the Istanbul-Baghdad Railway.

In the aftermath of Hitler’s rise to power in Germany in 1933, Turkey provided refuge to Germans of Jewish descent, left-wing and liberal academics and engineers, who fled their homeland. These intellectuals played an important role in the reorganization of universities and in the foundation of industrial plants and companies in Turkey. The commercial, economic and cultural ties between Turkey and Germany were further developed and intensified during the Cold War. Subsequently in 1960’s with the signing of the Labour Recruitment Agreement between Turkey and Germany, a great number of Turkish citizens immigrated to Germany.

As one of the Turkey’s important allies in Europe, we have multi-faceted relations with Germany, which include political, economic, military and human dimensions with a long-standing background. High-level mutual visits as well as contacts at technical levels are being held regularly.

The bilateral relations between Turkey and Germany endured a problematic period starting with the decision of the German Federal Parliament on 2 June 2016 to recognize the 1915 events as “genocide” and other negative developments. Through dialogue and mutual steps, a certain degree of normalization of relations has been achieved as of 2018.

On 5 June 2017, the then German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel paid an official visit to Turkey. Besides meeting with Minister Çavuşoğlu, Minister Gabriel was also received by President Erdoğan.

On 29 May 2018, Minister Çavuşoğlu visited Solingen on the occasion of the Solingen Commemoration Ceremony and met with his counterpart Heiko Maas, Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet.

The constructive dialogue established in 2018 between Foreign Minister Mr. Çavuşoğlu and his counterpart Mr. Sigmar Gabriel continued with his successor Mr. Heiko Maas. Foreign Minister Maas’ visit to Turkey on 5-6 September 2018 and President Erdoğan’s state visit to Germany between 27-29 September 2018 have been important steps in this normalization process.

Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu met his counterpart Maas on 1 February 2019 at the Informal Meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers (Gymnich), on 4 April 2019 on the occasion of the NATO Foreign Minister’s Meeting in Washington DC. Both Minister’s also met on the margins of the the 129th Meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 17 May 2019 as well as the 74th UN General Assembly Meeting in New York on 26 September 2019.

Chancellor Merkel visited Turkey numerous times in recent years. Her last visit to Turkey was on the occasion of a working visit to Istanbul on 24 January 2020.

Approximately 3 million people of Turkish origin living in Germany represent the human dimension of our relations. They have been contributing to Germany’s social life and economic prosperity for many years. In Germany, there are 3 members of the European Parliament, 16 members of the German Federal Parliament, 48 members of State Parliament and 423 members in Municipality Councils who are of Turkish descent.