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„No arrangement with terrorists“

The Berlin entrepreneur Nasyr Birkholz has 120 sea containers full of German consumer products exported last year in to the Iraq. The German Daily Mirror reported recently about Birkholz 'own perfume label "BB by Berlin" to inspire the success of its products in Iraq and his efforts to German companies for the Iraqi market. The 54-year-old civil engineer, who was born in Mesopotamia and lived for studying in Germany, the situation in northern Iraq at the time described as very peaceful and safe. Ever since the conquest of the city of Mosul by supporters of the terrorist organization IS the northern Iraq, however, is in a state of emergency. Shiites, Christians and other minorities are on the run. International companies withdraw. Nasyr Birkholz was in June in northern Iraq to negotiate with business partners. Among other things, his company owns there the trade monopoly on products of the chemical company Henkel.
Mr. Birkholz, since the fall of Saddam Hussein to export on a large scale German goods to Iraq - from self-produced perfume over Schwarzkopf shampoo to Construction. Is this still possible? Yes, luckily that's so far possible. I've been using for many years the Kurdish northern border for imports to Iraq. This decision turns out now as well. Because I also believe that this border crossing further remains unchallenged, because it is for Turkey of immense economic importance.
The northern Iraq was considered in recent years as a relatively safe, now throw the USA there bombs on terrorists. Were you able to foresee this development in the past few months? The political situation is very critical since early this year. I was recently in June in Iraq and could myself make a picture. Yet no one has seriously expected that the IS-terrorists could penetrate so far into the north. Without support from Iraq would have the IS, however, never managed. Not a few Arabs in Iraq sympathize with the terrorists or even support them. Not out of love, but because IS fights against the Shia, which many Sunnis behind their hands as puppets of Iran.
What would it mean for your business if IS would take over control of northern Iraq? That would be tantamount to a disaster. We have already lost 35 percent of our sales. If IS in northern Iraq should gain a foothold, we would probably lose more than half of our business. An arrangement with the terrorists come for me but never in question, under any circumstances. These extremists must be fought by all means. But I'm pretty sure that IS will not prevail. The easy standing opposite to many Western, especially American, interests. Turkey, too, is not easy to watch as the terrorists spread on its border.
How to describe your business partners the situation on the ground? A group of business partners wanted to just come back to Germany, but Iraq can not leave. Most airlines have canceled their flights to Iraq until further notice. Our partner in northern Mosul has practically lost its entire economic existence. He and his family were able to escape to happiness and flee into more northerly Dohuk. There, in the Kurdish north of Iraq, the shops are still running, but on a very low flame. All my business partners have become very cautious and order now much less. The same applies to Baghdad, only the very south of the country you realize little of this uncertainty. According to Hussein-years and the economic embargo Iraq's economy grew last double-digit percentages.
Keep a quick return to rebuild realistic? No, I do not think so, unfortunately. The economic development has suffered considerably from the negative political developments in recent months. Perhaps it will be years before the necessary investors and companies have confidence in Iraq again.
They have accompanied German minister in Iraq. Are you satisfied with Germany's reluctant role? Germany should get involved with military material and participate in humanitarian aid for the refugees. This will promote Germany's reputation. In Iraq, no calls for German soldiers.
They build in Kleinmachnow, a perfume factory, whose products are intended for Iraq. Up to 40 new jobs you want to create. To what extent your plans of the political developments in Iraq are dependent? Luckily Iraq plays no decisive role. We build there to mainly for sale in Germany and other countries in the world. So that we can meet the demand for our perfumes, we need this new location.
- Interview conducted by Arne Bensiek -