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Bundeswehr 'bullied' by Turkish troops
Photo: DPA

Bundeswehr 'bullied' by Turkish troops

Published: 03 Mar 2013 07:49 GMT+01:00
Updated: 03 Mar 2013 07:49 GMT+01:00

A majority of the 400 German troops sent to Turkey in December as part of a NATO mission deploying Patriot anti-aircraft missiles to defend the Syrian border said Turkish soldiers did not treat them as welcome guests and were “rarely helpful,” wrote Der Spiegel magazine on Saturday.

Not only that, but the soldiers often felt they were being persecuted by the Turkish army on purpose, according to a report presented to parliament on Friday.

Cooperation between the Bundeswehr soldiers and local forces is “overwhelmingly perceived as problematic,” wrote parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces Hellmut Königshaus, who has just returned from an inspection of the troops.

A general ban means Turkish troops are not allowed to make any contact with the Germans and will be immediately disciplined if they do. Meanwhile, the Germans have only been granted restricted movement outside the camp in Kahramanmaras - confined to a "Green Zone" in the centre of town, said the report.

German military police said they had been told they must keep a low profile and are not allowed to carry weapons outside camp or drive in their khaki jeeps, wrote Königshaus.

Bundeswehr soldiers said conditions in the camp were unacceptable, with toilets in the main headquarters said to have been at times knee-high in faeces. Turkish customs also often prevented the military postal delivery from arriving for days or even weeks, they said.

Königshaus also reported several incidents of bad treatment against the Germans by the Turkish commanding officer in charge of the barracks, wrote the magazine.

Ahead of a visit by German Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière at the end of February, for example, the officer ordered the Germans to take down all German flags in the camp, and told them it was still a Turkish barrack.

Just before the minister arrived, a young German military policewoman attempted to block a road for the minister's convoy. She stopped a limousine carrying the commanding officer - a general in the Turkish army.

German soldiers who witnessed the incident said the commanding officer then flew into a rage and started a shoving match with the woman, which escalated until troops stepped in to protect her. Several injuries later documented by a doctor support this version of events, which the magazine said differed in tone to the official version.

A Defence Ministry spokeswoman said they were taking Königshaus' report very seriously and were looking into the accusations.

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The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:12 March 3, 2013 by ovalle3.14
When I read news like this I wonder: don't we have enough stuff to take care of here in Germany?
10:07 March 3, 2013 by raandy
This does not help the Turkish -German integration here in Germany.

This deployment was only political and of no value militarily, hence the negativism by the Turkish forces.

Best to get out of there ASAP.
10:22 March 3, 2013 by Repatriated
Give the Turkish administration 24 hours to turn this thing around to our satisfaction, otherwise we take our toys and go home. To hell with them!
10:25 March 3, 2013 by Bier_me
Wow, I've heard stories of how bad it is to work with the Turks, but thisis ridiculous. Germany should pull out and let Syria lob SCUDs over the border and see how Turkey likes that.
10:29 March 3, 2013 by hech54
"Turkish customs often prevented the military post from arriving for days or even weeks, they said."

What? The entire military post was held in Turkish Customs? Must be a HUGE Customs office....either that or an incomplete sentence.
15:02 March 3, 2013 by lenny van
It is a pity that the 78% of nice, normal people are painted with the same brush as the 22 % of "mean and nasty" people in German society. Sortly after moving o Germany, we spent a week camping in the Hof of a farm on one of the Dutch islands. I didn't understand why the 50 or so other campers were so unfriendly to us until one of the Dutch campers explained that it was because of our German license plates. After he spread the word that we were Canadian, everyone was very friendly.

I hadn't realized how much the Germans are disliked in Europe, but after living in Germany for twenty years and personally experiencing the oppressive effects of the mean and nasty 22%, I now have a much clearer understanding for the hostility of Germany's neighbors towards Germans in general. It¦#39;s not fair to the 78% nice, normal Germans, but they have to ostracise the 22% until they change their behaviour. Let's hope they get it done so that history doesn't repeat itself. I am not surprised by the reaction of Turks and the Italians in today's other articles and the comments that followed.
16:20 March 3, 2013 by catjones
germans don't like it when they are treated like they treat others. bunch of babies.
01:18 March 4, 2013 by adam.müller
lol like we are like everywhere else in the world.
02:25 March 4, 2013 by Icke Ricke
Just so you know, the Teutonic Gods come from Troy, Turkey.
14:56 March 4, 2013 by Georginafs
Germans are hard working, fun loving, efficient people with little patience to waste on people who are lazy, dirty and/or dishonest.

This often causes offence - particularly to people who believe themselves naturally superior on the basis of their ideology.

Germans know a lot about that sort of thing, and they do not like it.

I have no doubt that the average Turk is as pleasant as anyone, however, the general attitude of Turkish people in Germany is: "We are superior, bow down and show us some respect".

This pisses most Germans off, they had all that with the nazi-socialists, no way they appreciate it from the islamo-socialists.
16:08 March 4, 2013 by Tom Billesley
Pull out. The German, Dutch and American contingents with patriot missiles are really there as a trip wire to bring NATO into any conflict between Turkey and Iran who have rival Sunni and Shia client interests in Syria.
18:01 March 4, 2013 by Noddfa
Will they expect Germany to support their EU membership application?
10:32 March 5, 2013 by DOZ
The Bullies are being bullied. How quaint.
20:42 March 5, 2013 by flyintiger
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
01:04 March 6, 2013 by FAR
germans don't like it when they are treated like they treat others. bunch of babies.
10:47 March 6, 2013 by wenddiver
If NATO can prevent the war spreading to Turkey it will be money well spent, however NATOs forces not being Islamists, they will always be discriminated against in Turkey, just like NATO forces building Schools, hospitals and stable lives for the people of Afganistan, will never be treated as fairly as the Taliban that murder their family members. Sad, backwards, but true. Welcome to the Third World.
16:17 March 8, 2013 by foudkirk
The Turks are increasingly becoming Islamic crazies.

They would not turn Osama's son-in-law over to the USA directly but shunted him to Jordan to keep from offending their Al Quaida friends!

Turkey is not a friend of the West and does not belong in the EU. They should be expelled from NATO!
16:44 March 8, 2013 by dionisof
Turks are not Europeans...that is the truth.....I lived 6 years in Turkey...alot of them where nice people....but damn I hated the way they treated their women....again...not Europeans....oh...yes...Oh I hated their propaganda.........
03:28 March 9, 2013 by itchyvet
6:08 March 4, 2013 by Tom Billesley

Pull out. The German, Dutch and American contingents with patriot missiles are really there as a trip wire to bring NATO into any conflict between Turkey and Iran who have rival Sunni and Shia client interests in Syria.

Well done Tom, the only poster here who can see the wood for the trees.NATO has no business whatever involving it'self in this conflict, get the hell out of Turkey and look after your own turf. Since when has/does NATO 'prevent' a war, from where I sit, it's done nothing but foster and wage war against innocent people. I thought Germans would be very aware of such actions. Clearly haven't learned a bloody thing.
06:32 March 9, 2013 by dr.makni49
The episode seems a lot of misunderstanding. Turk troops are very fine soldiers and they know how to respect friends. Asking guests' MP to prefer stay in the Camp and resort to minimal move out be interpretted as an effort to ensure added safety of German troops. Even Turks have been attacked as some rogue elements are present in border areas. About administrative inconvenience in the field, a degree of it is inevitable. German troops would sound strange to ask for luxury of scented toilets in the battle zone where the facilities are on 'make shift' basis. Better cooperate with the host and understand Turks safety worries about German troops. Yes, by no mean I hint negative about German soldiers. No one can doubt their professionalism, always above the board.
18:04 March 10, 2013 by BadHomburg1963
he war We just need to call it is as it. The Turks should return to Turkey. Sadly the religious and cultural differences have prevented their integration into German society since the end of the war in the 40s.

Absent this, Germany will become another Turkey in 100 years.
22:29 March 16, 2013 by ricksson
germany as to stop the political correctness and put the mentally challenge turks in place
16:05 March 17, 2013 by Sastry.M
Whether under the second Kaiser Reich or under the totalitarian Third Reich the Germans, both as regular commissioned officers or as non commissioned soldiers, fought heroically and fell for fatherland against causes that directly threatened their national identity. The present conditions of extra territorial deployment are not clearly defined as given the disaster of ww2 and defined purpose of the Bundeswehr as a purely defensive army for national territorial protection.

There is no cause presently that directly threatens Germany militarily from within or outside and the preset strength is sufficient to meet any emergency as well also from support of NATO. Under the dark canopy of blots of bygone years any new theatrical adventure does not justify German deployment and the humiliating resentment of German soldiers whether from self official orders or from foreign belittlement is entirely justified.
23:30 March 19, 2013 by liondens
So the turks can not protect themselves from a broken country like Syria? Go home and protect yourself from the enemies within, for it is you that need protection some day, probably not very far in the future!
19:00 March 26, 2013 by jack_kerouac
Think about it this way:

If the German military were to do the same things to visiting Turkish soldiers, and treated them based of a "national feeling" of resentment, how would Europe/The World respond?

There exists a double-standard where Germany is concerned. Everybody should be held to the same standards, but perhaps that is just wishful thinking...

Germany keeps getting blamed when all they are doing is helping - economically and militarily. Let's cut off aid and see how things work out.
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