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German–Turkish relations have their beginnings in the times of the Ottoman Empire and have culminated in the development of strong bonds with many facets that include economic, military, cultural and social relations. With the possible accession of Turkey to the European Union, of which Germany is the biggest member, and the existence of a huge Turkish diaspora in Germany, these relations have become more and more intertwined over the decades.
Late 19th century and World War I
- Baghdad Railway
- Ottoman–German Alliance
- Pursuit of Goeben and Breslau
- Middle Eastern theatre of World War I
World War II
During World War II, Turkey maintained diplomatic relations with Germany until August 1944. The non-aggression pact was signed on 18 June 1941. In October 1941, the "Clodius Agreement" (named after the German negotiator, Dr. Carl August Clodius (de)) was achieved, whereby Turkey would export up 45,000 tons of chromite ore to Germany in 1941-1942, and 90,000 tons of the mineral in each of 1943 and 1944, contingent on Germany's supplies of military equipment to Turkey. The Germans provided as many as 117 railway locomotives and 1,250 freight rail cars to transport the ore. In an attempt to prevent the supply of this strategic mineral to Germany, the United States and Britain went on a spree of what was termed "preclusive buying," buying out Turkish chromite even if they did not need so much of it. As a part of the "package deal," the Anglo-Americans bought Turkish dried fruit and tobacco as well.
In August 1944, the Soviet Army entered Bulgaria and cut overland contact between Turkey and the Axis powers. Turkey severed its diplomatic and commercial relations with Germany, and on February 23, 1945, declared war on Germany.
Accession of Turkey to the European Union
Germany's support to the Turkish bid has not been consistent in the German political arena. Support has varied over time with examples such as former Chancellors like Helmut Kohl, who expressed opposition on the issue, while Gerhard Schröder was seen to be a staunch supporter.
Chancellor Merkel's views on accession
The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has advocated a "vaguely defined partnership and has opposed full membership of Turkey to the EU. Current Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in response in July 2009, "We will never accept a privileged partnership. We want full membership into the EU. We don't want anything else than full membership.”
In 2006, Chancellor Merkel said "Turkey could be in deep, deep trouble when it comes to its aspirations to join the European Union" regarding its refusal to open up its ports to European Union member Cyprus. She added
We need an implementation of the Ankara Protocols regarding unrestricted trade with Cyprus too. Otherwise, the situation becomes very, very serious when it comes to the continuation of Turkey's accession negotiations. I appeal to Turkey to do everything to avoid such a complicated situation and not to lead the European Union into such a situation.
Merkel also said that she could not imagine negotiations continuing without concessions made by Ankara toward opening up its ports to Cypriot ships. The Turkish Government responded by demanding that the EU lift its embargo on the Turkish controlled part of the island in return.
Temporary block of accession talks in June 2013
On 20 June 2013, in the wake of Ankara's crackdown on mass demonstrations in Taksim Square, Germany blocked the start to new EU accession talks with Turkey. According to the Financial Times, one Turkish official said that such a move could potentially break off political relations with the bloc. "The EU needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the EU," Egemen Bagis, Turkey's EU minister stated. "If we have to, we could tell them, "get lost.'" Germany says that its reservation stems from a technical issue, but Angela Merkel has described herself as "shocked" after Ankara's use of overwhelming police force against mostly peaceful demonstrators.
On 25 June EU foreign ministers backed a German proposal to postpone further EU membership talks with Turkey for about four months due to the Turkey's handling of the protests. A delay in opening new chapters for Turkey would raise new doubts about whether the country should ever be admitted to the European Union. In early June in comments on Turkey's possible membership German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not address the compromise proposal but said Turkey must make progress on its relations with EU member Cyprus to give impetus to its membership ambitions. 
In 2008, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Berlin and met Chancellor Merkel, and also visited Munich. He suggested during the visit that the German government establish Turkish medium schools and that German high schools hire more teachers from Turkey.
In 2011, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made another visit to Germany During a speech in Düsseldorf, he urged Turks in Germany, to integrate, but not assimilate, a statement that caused a political outcry in Germany.
Germany and Turkey have held strong economic ties with one another throughout time. Machinery, electrical goods and motor vehicles and supply parts for the automobile industry account for a particularly large portion of German exports to Turkey. Textiles/leather goods and food, and increasingly motor vehicles and electronic goods, are the principal German imports from Turkey. At present, companies owned by Turksih businessmen in Germany employ approximately 200 thousand people. The annual turnover of these companies has reached 45 billion marks. More than three millions German tourists visit Turkey annually. More than 4000 German companies are active in Turkey. Germany has turned out to be the number one partner of Turkey in fields such as foreign trade, financial and technical cooperation, tourism and defense industry.
Based on good Turkish-German relations from the 19th century onwards, Germany promoted a Turkish immigration to Germany. However, large scale didn't occur until the 20th century. Germany suffered an acute labor shortage after World War II and, in 1961, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) officially invited Turkish workers to Germany to fill in this void, particularly to work in the factories that helped fuel Germany's economic miracle. The German authorities named these people Gastarbeiter (German for guest workers). Most Turks in Germany trace their ancestry to Central and Eastern Anatolia. Today, Turks are Germany's largest ethnic minority and form most of Germany's Muslim minority.
- Allied Relations and Negotiations With Turkey, US State Department, pp. 6-8
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