Turkey is defending itself against the poaching of Turkish workers by German airports. The Turkish Aviation Authority said it was an attempt to sabotage Turkey’s aviation industry. After Turkey said no, German airport operators are likely to have major problems finding around 2,000 Turkish workers for baggage handling, check-in and security checks as planned by the end of the holiday season in order to compensate for staff shortages in Germany. The Turkish aviation authority cannot ban the workers , to go to Germany. However, the first official statement by a Turkish government authority on the German recruitment campaign made it clear that German airport operators in Turkey are likely to encounter considerable resistance when recruiting well-trained assistants.
Two weeks ago, the federal government announced that it would shorten visa procedures for Turkish workers at German airports. However, it is not yet known how the recruitment will work and when the first Turkish workers will arrive in Germany to ease the airport chaos during the holiday season. Some German industry representatives expect Turkish reinforcements to arrive in August, others not until September.
Meanwhile, Lufthansa is canceling further flights due to the current handling problems. A company spokesman said on Wednesday in Frankfurt that around 2,000 connections at the Frankfurt and Munich hubs would be affected by the end of August. According to information from the “Berliner Morgenpost”, Berlin-Brandenburg Airport should also be affected.
In their search for temporary staff, German airport operators are primarily targeting workers at Turkish airports, who are currently underutilized. In recent years, the Turkish government had many new airports built in provincial cities, which are now hardly served. According to media reports, the airport in western Turkey’s Usak, which employs more than 80 people, only handled 52 passengers last year. This year not a single plane landed there between January and April.
Despite this, the planned German recruitment drive met with distrust from official bodies in Turkey. The Turkish aviation authority addressed Turkish airport workers in its statement. The government, the General Directorate of Civil Aviation, warned that the countries currently looking for Turkish airport employees are not just about filling vacancies. It is also about “stopping the rise of our country’s aviation industry” by poaching professional employees.
Unlike German and other European airlines, the semi-public Turkish Airlines came through the corona crisis relatively well. Turkish airports are reporting record numbers of take-offs and landings in the current holiday season. Turkish Airlines wants to further expand its route network – on the other hand, European companies are canceling thousands of flights because they did not reinforce the staff thinned out during the pandemic in good time.
This development fuels the Turkish suspicion that the Europeans are not only interested in bridging staff shortages. With the sabotage argument, the aviation authority is in line with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who accuses the West of causing difficulties for Turkey in order to prevent its rise to a regional power.
The aviation authority called on the Turkish employees to reject the offers from abroad. She appealed to Turkish employers in the aviation sector to improve working conditions and raise wages in order to make transfers abroad less attractive for workers. Turkish media reported that Turkish workers could earn 6,000 euros at German airports in three months during the holiday season. For this, a worker in Turkey has to work for almost two years at the minimum wage. (with dpa)