Germany wants to access Turkish banking system as part of the preventing tax evasion program of OECD. However, it is more like Germany is after Turkish-German communities’ savings.
100 countries throughout the world signed an OECD program more than a decade ago to exchange bank account information to prevent cross-border tax evasion and for more transparent banking system. However, Turkey has yet to share any information with Berlin on German Turks’ bank account information. German officials claim that Ak Party government is protecting tax evaders in exchange for support in the elections. But sector experts and officials in Turkey says tax evasion is not something Germany is after because savings and investments of German Turks in Turkey are results of hard legal earnings.
The controversy have been reignited in Germany following a motion filed to the Federal Parliament by the Left Party MP Gokay Akbulut. The response of Finance Ministry revealed that Turkey has not met its responsibilities from the OECD agreement along with four other countries.
Although there is no exact official number, more than 3 million Turkish origin people are believed to have been living in Germany. The number is much higher when including German citizens of Turkish origin. Gokay Akbulut accuses Turkish government to protect tax evaders in exchange for election support, according to Deutsche Welle.
One Turkish-German legal counselor whom asked not to be identified said to Diaspora Daily that the current issue between Turkey and Germany is not about tax evasion. “German authorities just using OECD agreement as a pretext. German officials know that Turks have been working hard in this country for decades and their savings in Turkey is legal and clean,” he said.
There have been reports in the recent years that some Turks collect unemployment despite having savings or real estate properties in Turkey. One prominent politician in Turkey who preferred not reveal his identity due to his own fragile position says Germany is after hard legal earnings of Turks while there are tens of billions of dollars worth tax evasions in German banks. “Turkish Germans on the other hand should not abuse the German welfare system. Two wrongs does not add up to a right,” he added.
Turkish banking officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity says if there would be any suspicious case of international tax evasion scheme, Turkish authorities would and have cooperate with international institutions and third countries.