When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Germany

Turkey And Germany, A Relationship Always Worth Watching

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Angela Merkel in Hamburg
Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Angela Merkel in Hamburg

German-Turkish relations are a high-stakes affair. Not only does Germany count some three million residents with roots in Turkey, the two countries are strategic to both the global economy and international diplomacy. In recent years, however, the relationship has been fraught with tension, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently declared her desire to "reinforce" bilateral relations with Turkey, as one state broadcaster reported last week.

Yet Merkel"s wishes run up against reality. One of the diplomatic spats to have erupted between the two countries started a year ago, when Deniz Yücel, a journalist for Die Welt, with German-Turkish dual-citizenship, was arrested in Istanbul over accusations of supporting "terrorism." The news last Friday that the reporter had been finally released from prison has done little to shed light on that political and diplomatic mystery, and Yücel's ordeal is indeed far from over, with prosecutors in Turkey still seeking up to 18 years of imprisonment.

There are also five other German citizens still stuck in Turkish cells on legally dubious charges. Perhaps the fact that six Turkish journalists were given life sentences on the same day as Yücel's release is a sign from Ankara that it has no plans to change course. Indeed, Turkey holds the record for the numbers of journalists in jail.

The fact that a political leader in his own country needs police protection from a foreign delegation should be a wake-up call.

But a new sign of tension emerged this weekend, at the sidelines of the annual Munich Security Conference. Die Welt reported on Sunday that Cem Özdemir, the leader of Germany's Green Party, had to be placed under police protection after the Turkish delegation, led by Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, complained to the police about his presence, referring to him as a "terrorist." Özdemir, whose parents emigrated from Turkey and who was born in Germany, has been one of the most vocal critics of Erdogan.

Last week, Özdemir had urged Merkel to stop "cuddling" with Turkey. It is colorful language, to be sure. But the fact that a political leader in his own country needs police protection from a foreign delegation should be a wake-up call. This is all the more true at a time when tensions in the Mediterranean over oil and natural gas between Turkey and several smaller European Union countries are threatening to escalate. If the bloc's smaller nations feel they don't have the backing of the EU's biggest economy, what will prevent them from turning their back on the idea of a united Europe?

No, what happens with Germany and Turkey is never about just Germany and Turkey.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Society

Parenthood And The Pressure Of Always Having To Be Doing Better

As a father myself, I'm now better able to understand the pressures my own dad faced. It's helped me face my own internal demands to constantly be more productive and do better.

Photo of a father with a son on his shoulders

Father and son in the streets of Madrid, Spain

Ignacio Pereyra*

-Essay-

When I was a child — I must have been around eight or so — whenever we headed with my mom and grandma to my aunt's country house in Don Torcuato, outside of Buenos Aires, there was the joy of summer plans. Spending the day outdoors, playing soccer in the field, being in the swimming pool and eating delicious food.

But when I focus on the moment, something like a painful thorn appears in the background: from the back window of the car I see my dad standing on the sidewalk waving us goodbye. Sometimes he would stay at home. “I have to work” was the line he used.

Maybe one of my older siblings would also stay behind with him, but I'm sure there were no children left around because we were all enthusiastic about going to my aunt’s. For a long time in his life, for my old man, those summer days must have been the closest he came to being alone, in silence (which he liked so much) and in calm, considering that he was the father of seven. But I can only see this and say it out loud today.

Over the years, the scene repeated itself: the destination changed — it could be a birthday or a family reunion. The thorn was no longer invisible but began to be uncomfortable as, being older, my interpretation of the events changed. When words were absent, I started to guess what might be happening — and we know how random guessing can be.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest