The Turks Of Germany, The Elections And President Erdogan

The elections in Turkey which resulted in another victory for President Erdogan were intensely followed in Germany, where the largest Turkish diaspora lives. Supporters of the newly re-elected winner celebrated his victory in the streets of several major German cities. The Turkish president won the support of two-thirds of voters in that country. A success that arouses criticism in Germany.

A majority of Turkish immigrants who come to Germany come from Anatolia where the AKP, the party of President Erdogan is well established. They are often conservative and religious people who find themselves in the values defended by the Turkish president. Values transmitted to younger generations.

This is reflected in the regional vote. In Berlin, where the Turkish community is more diverse with Kurds or political opponents of Erdogan, the re-elected president did not cross the 50% mark on Sunday May 28. In the city of Essen, on the other hand, he collected almost 80% of the votes. Moreover, the AKP, more than the opposition, is well established in the organizations and other mosques of the diaspora.

The Turkish media, sometimes with German editions, are widely followed, and as in Turkey, close to power. Finally, there is an identity reflex exploited by Erdogan: the nationalist card, which he plays, speaks to his fellow citizens in Germany who do not always feel well accepted.

Fewer voters than supporters

But this strong support from the Turks of Germany for President Erdogan and his party must be qualified. To say that the Turks in Germany are two-thirds of Erdogan’s supporters is a bit of an understatement. Of the three million people who are from this country, half do not have Turkish nationality and therefore cannot participate in the elections.

Moreover, turnout was only 50% among the 1.5 million Turkish voters in Germany. On arrival, therefore, 500,000 people out of three million voted for President Erdogan. But of course, that does not mean that non-voters do not support the Turkish head of state.

Malaise in the German political world

However, this support for the Turkish president has sparked criticism, even controversy. And not necessarily only in the conservative camp. Agriculture Minister Green Cem Özdemir, himself of Turkish origin, reacted on Twitter with his words: “Let’s be honest with ourselves: those Erdogan supporters who celebrate his victory in our streets are expressing in same time their rejection of our democracy. Like the far right. That should worry us.” The president of the German Turkish community criticized a reaction that would reinforce Erdogan supporters in their support for the Turkish president as well as their feeling of being poorly accepted in German society.

On the right, the vote of the Turkish diaspora is used to denounce the reform of the government which should allow faster naturalizations and dual nationality. The sensational daily Bild headlined yesterday: “Will many Erdogan supporters become Germans? »

This article is originally published on rfi.fr

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