Germany will continue to be a reliable partner: Envoy 

Germany will continue to be a reliable partner for Turkey and attaches great importance to deepening the cooperation between the EU and Turkey, according to Jürgen Schulz, Germany’s Ambassador to Ankara. “I would like to revive our EU-Turkey dialogue agenda for 2022 and to be able to demonstrate our cooperation on future issues, such as the green deal,” he said. 


Germany will continue to be a reliable partner for Turkey as it is for the European Union (EU), according to Jürgen Schulz, Germany’s Ambassador to Ankara since July 2020. Schulz is sad about Turkey’s gradual divergence from the EU but wishes to revive the EU-Turkey dialogue agenda in 2022. “Germany has a dense international network in terms of economy. Thus, the transformation in Germany will have an impact on sustainability in German and foreign companies abroad,” he said in an exclusive interview with daily DUNYA’s Ankara representative Maruf Buzcugil and Ankara news director Huseyin Gokce. 

Speaking about the economic and political relationship between Turkey and Germany, Schulz pointed to the connections between millions of people in the two countries as well as the unique bond connecting Turkey and Germany given their intense political and cultural relationships. “This family and friendship bond creates a special bridge between the two countries,” he said.

This is also reflected in the economic relationship, according to the ambassador, as Germany continues to be Turkey’s most important trading partner, with nearly EUR 35bn in bilateral trade volume in 2021. Germany has been the most important export market for Turkey, with an 8.8% share in total exports in 2021, he said, and the third-largest import source, with an 8.1% share in imports following China (12%) and Russia (10.5%).

The fact that the majority of foreign companies in Turkey are of German origin makes sense to Schulz, who noted that 7.600 German enterprises operate in Turkey including large companies like Siemens, Mercedes Benz, Bosch, Bayer, BASF, and Henkel. “On the other hand, there are 90,000 Turkish businesses in Germany with nearly EUR 50bn in annual income employing 500,000 people.” 

Pointing to the results of the survey conducted by the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) of its worldwide members last autumn, Schulz said: “70% of the respondents evaluated their business situation as positive, while only 3% stated that their business situation is not good. In the international comparison of the survey results, the commercial situation in Turkey was evaluated as positive, above the average. 43% of German companies in Turkey are planning more investment and employment.”

The new government, same attitude

The ambassador also commented on the possible political and economic effects of the latest government change in Germany. Continuity is essential in German foreign policy, Schulz said adding that the Federal Republic of Germany will always remain a reliable partner. 

“We will continue to constructively develop our relations with our friends and allies, including the EU and NATO, and we will continue to strive for our values and interests. Of course, the same is true for Turkey, a NATO ally, neighbor, a EU candidate country, a Customs Union partner, and an important partner on migration and refugees,” he said.

A coalition government of social democrats, greens, and liberals elected Olaf Scholz, who served as finance minister and deputy prime minister in the previous government, as the new prime minister after the elections in September. 

The approach of the coalition partners is known and there is a short paragraph in the coalition agreement about Turkey, he added. “The first meetings of heads of government and foreign ministers took place. It will be important to determine the form and content of future cooperation by discussing it in bilateral meetings in the coming months,” he said. 

Reviving the EU-Turkey dialogue

When asked about the halting of negotiations for Turkey’s EU membership, Schulz said, “The EU shows great strategic interest in a cooperative and mutually advantageous relationship. Germany also attaches great importance to deepening the cooperation between the EU and Turkey.” 

The EU determined in December last year with regret that Turkey has been moving away from the EU in many areas and that is why the accession negotiations have not progressed, Schulz said. “I would like to revive our EU-Turkey dialogue agenda for 2022 and to be able to demonstrate our cooperation on future issues such as the green deal,” he said. 

The same is true for the modernization of the Customs Union, according to Schulz. However, Turkey has to fulfill the necessary conditions for this to happen. “This means the removal of trade or similar barriers and enforcing Customs Union rules applicable to all EU member states,” he said.

Regional value 

As the Turkish industry carries out production in cooperation with the German industry in the sub-industry branches in many areas, especially the automotive sector, Jürgen Schulz also touched on possible developments within the framework of the Green Deal and industrial transformation in adjustment to it. 

“The German economy has set itself the goal of being more sustainable. To achieve this, of course, the entire supply chain must be taken into account. The issue here is not the final product. This means a complete transformation of our industry, which must be implemented with international partners, production facilities, and suppliers in other countries,” he said.  

Since Germany has a dense international economic network economically, the transformation in Germany will of course have an impact on sustainability in Germany and foreign companies outside the country, he added. 

“German companies have been operating in Turkey for over 100 years. Many witnessed great changes during this time. The representatives of the German economy in Turkey often inform me that they value Turkey as a region,” said Schulz, who expects that this will continue in the future as well with regular investments.  

Promises of fair competition in renewable energy and electric cars

As global climate change will be the biggest issue for all humanity in the coming decades, overcoming these challenges is at the center of the work of the German Federal Government, according to Jürgen Schulz, Germany’s Ambassador to Ankara. Germany supports the European Green Deal because it is an important step towards transforming Europe’s economy into a sustainable one, he said. “Employing the Ministry of Economy as the Ministry of Climate Protection shows how much importance the government attaches to sustainability. We are at the beginning of a major transformation process from a social market economy to an eco-social market economy,” he said adding that this process should be carried out with the support of the state, industry, and civil society. “Turkey has the opportunity to access many renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, which it has already opened for use. At the same time, we see the efforts being made for the production of electric cars, which share the common goal of achieving a sustainable life, as a welcome development in terms of fair and healthy competition,” ambassador Schulz noted. 

 A long diplomatic journey 

Jürgen Schulz’s career at the Foreign Office in the Federal Chancellery began in the Western Balkans Division between 2001 and 2004. He served in the Iraq Staff for a year before becoming Deputy Head of the European Security and Defense Policy Unit from 2005 to 2008. Schulz served as the head of division for Central, Southeast, and Eastern Europe, South Caucasus, Central Asia, the USA and Canada, Turkey, and Western, Southern, and Northern European countries between 2008 and 2013. He was the deputy political director and security policy officer at the Federal Foreign Office from 2013 to 2016 and served in several positions in the United Nations in New York, including as the vice president of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 2017. Since July 2020, he has acted as the German Ambassador to Turkey in Ankara. 

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