Turkish diaspora in Germany react to Ankara’s incursion into Syria

World Today

The German government has condemned Turkey’s military operation into Kurdish dominated areas of Northern Syria. Germany is home to the largest diaspora of Turks and Kurds outside the Middle East.

CGTN’s Natalie Carney has been speaking to Turkish communities in Munich.

According to some estimates, at least 4 million people of Turkish descent live in Germany. Many are descendants of migrant workers, others are here to work themselves or have escaped political persecution back home.

Some support Ankara’s decision to rid northern Syria of Kurdish YPG fighters. They believe these fighters are tied to the Kurdish militant group the PKK, which has launched attacks on Turkey in the past.

“The PKK harms people. What do they want from babies, children and women They shoot them. Turkey entered Syria and did not harm anyone but just moved out terrorists,” Teyze Bibi said.

Other Turks living in Germany such as Ibrahim Can do not believe they should be in Syria. He said, “It is not good. What do they want from Assad? What do they want from the Kurds?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly called on Turkey to stop its military action, saying it’s bringing new suffering to an already devastated country.

“The military operation of Turkey in Syria brings only new human suffering to the already very maltreated country. It claims many victims and forces tens of thousands, among them thousands of children, to flee. It is a humanitarian drama with big geopolitical consequences,” she adds.

Across Germany, thousands have protested against Turkey while the EU has passed a resolution limiting arms sales to the country. Yet some say it’s too little too late.

Despite the many concerns of governments and human rights organizations, German arms exports to Turkey are at their highest level in 14 years. According to Berlin, German arms sales to Turkey in the first eight months of the year amount to $277 million.

Kerem Schamberger co-authored a book about the Kurdish people in Turkey. He said Berlin’s history and economic ties with Ankara run deep.

“More than 7000 German companies have investments in Turkey. That’s why Germany does not stand on the side of the Kurdish people. And you also have the geostrategic point that Germany fears that more refugees will be sent from Turkey to Europe,” he said.

Some aid organisations said Turkey’s escalating military operation could displace as many as 300,000 people.