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f+h Intralogistics 1/2015

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f+h Intralogistics 1/2015

GLOBAL BUSINESS

GLOBAL BUSINESS German-Turkish relationship – set the correct focus! German-Turkish relations are a success story. Unfortunately we have to remind ourselves of that today. Far too much of the negative is in the foreground. Turks in Turkey, especially in the current government, criticized the inadequate integration efforts of the Germans. Turkish politicians are celebrating rallies in Germany, comparable to party days. They want “their” people in Germany to return to the “correct” sense of feeling as a Turk. At the same time antimigration movements are on the rise. Thank God, counter protests are much stronger and more visible, made up of cosmopolitan Germans who gather in resistance on Germany’s streets. Nevertheless, 150 years after the first commitment of Siemens in the Ottoman Empire, 50 years after the first Turkish “guest workers” took up employment in Germany, it appears as if we had not progressed one iota in the German- Turkish relationship. Politicians do their best to show a positive mood. The integration commissioner of the Federal Government is a Turk. Other Turkish nationals hold influential positions in German politics. But do we really need this competition over authority to interpret whether and how successful integration has been? Foreign observers shake their heads about how cramped the Germans are. Mistakes were made on both sides It is true, that many mistakes have been made on both sides. But after decades of intense cooperation between Germans and Turks, this is not at all surprising. On the other hand, relations should be considered a huge success, revealing many similarities between the two countries. Whenever I meet so-called Turkish “guest workers” of the first generation, we can often both agree that the similarities are in majority. Germans and Turks share the same mentality. Turks are sometimes referred to as the “Prussians of the East”. Ambition and entrepreneurial skills have been the driving forces of this generation. Such individuals, who were often no more than 16 or 17 years-of-age when they left their homes to find work in Germany, were the pillars of the German economic miracle. This is something Germans should never forget. But it is also important that, after the first energetic generation and their children, some Turks did come to Germany in the years following who mainly sought to take advantage of the German welfare system. This group was (and still is) partially reluctant to adapt to Central European values and beliefs. This issue is often the subject of today’s very emotional debate on integration. But it is wrong to inflate its significance as a central problem of migration. Behavior similar to the aforementioned examples, the positive as well as the negative, can certainly also be found amongst Germans. Both groups of politicians, either those stirring up resentments or bending over backwards to show the opposite, are doing a disservice to migration. A foreigner living in Germany does not automatically become a pillar of the economy when he speaks German at home. And likewise a Germanbased Turk is not only a good person, if he holds fast to his cultural roots. Turkey’s strengths It is much more important to highlight real and existing problems and challenges in German-Turkish economic policy. Let’s begin with the lament that Turkey does not belong to Europe. This may be a purely legal case of contractual law – caused by the EU’s reluctance to continue the integration process. In Turkey, more and more frustrated voices are growing louder, calling on the government to give up because of the very long administrative process. Meanwhile, many sectors of the Turkish and European economies have intertwined very closely for many years now, whether it be in the textile industry or glass-production but also suppliers to the automotive and the construction industry. Turkish products are highly regarded in Germany on the basis of their quality and technical precision. As we know from our own experience, it is a big drawback, that Turkish companies are not always fully aware of their own strengths. Still, they often act as suppliers and are reluctant to bring their own products and brands to the German market. But acting as a supplier also entails significant dependence on customers. This type of economic relations depends primarily on the price level. What happens is, that when German companies find cheaper suppliers in other countries, has already been witnessed by the Turkish textile industry, for instance. Several years ago, German textiles merchants shifted their focus en masse to cheaper Southeast-Asian suppliers to cut costs. But this false modesty is misplaced. Turkish products display a high standard of quality and Turkish companies all have good chances of establishing their own brands in the Central European market. If there is a need for more Europe, then it are the Turkish managers, who should see Europe as a target market for their own products. The Economic Development Corporation “hannoverimpuls”, with its “turkalman Business Center” (taBC), accompanies Turkish businessmen on their way to the German market. A wide network of contacts, such as the Association “Turkish Machinery”, which has its German headquarters in Lower Saxony, gives partners access to far-reaching opportunities in Germany. This is precisely where the focus of the Turkish-German relationship has to be set – very quickly and pragmatically. Political rhetoric is of little use when it detracts from the economic base. www.hannoverimpuls.com Peter Eisenschmidt, hannoverimpuls GmbH 12 f+h Intralogistics 1/2015

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