Turkish Voters in Germany Had no Appreciation for Democracy
21 April 2017
By Jacob Thomas
On Sunday, 16 April 2017, a Constitutional Referendum took place in Turkey about amendments to the Constitution proposed by the AKP (Justice & Development Party) that would abolish the position of Prime Minister and the Parliamentary System in favor of an Executive Presidency. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s proposed amendments were approved by a very slim majority Yes 25,157,025 (51.41%) & NO 23,777,091 (48.59%)
The German online Spiegel published an article on how “Turkish-Germans” voted, with the title of: “The Bizarre Behavior of Turkish-German Voters.”
As an outside observer, it strikes me rather strange, even an odd thing, that Turks living in Germany, who most likely had acquired German citizenship, can still vote in Turkish elections! However, the fact is that they participated in a Referendum, and they might have played a decisive role, in tilting the results, in favor of the dictatorial aspirations of Mr. Erdogan!
The following are excerpts from a report by Hasnain Kazim, a Turkish-German correspondent of Spiegel, followed by my analysis and comments.
“A clear majority of Turkish voters in Germany cast ballots in favor of Erdogan’s presidential system — many out of spite for the country. The development reveals how far immigrants from Turkey still have to go before they will be integrated at the center of society.
“As painful as it is to write this, one cannot support an autocratic system, capital punishment, the arrest of critical journalists and the jailing of the political opposition and then turn around and complain that you are not accepted in Germany as a German. That’s unacceptable. It shows that integration in Germany has failed — and that it isn’t just the Germans who are to blame for that.
“A clear majority of Turkish voters living in Germany cast ‘yes’ ballots for Erdogan’s autocratic presidential system. In Turkey, the result was so close that it’s possible that votes from Turks living abroad may even have proven decisive. Despite living in democracies and in freedom and safety, these people have essentially voted to eliminate democracy in Turkey.
“Instead they voted for autocracy in Turkey. Just imagine: The cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir all voted ‘no’ on the referendum, but Berlin, Hamburg and Munich — in fact all 13 cities in Germany where Turkish-Germans eligible to vote could cast ballots — voted ‘yes.’
“So how can it be that, as the members of the democratic society that they wish to be part of, they can correctly criticize right-wing extremists but at the same time accommodate an Islamist autocrat and stab people in Turkey in the back given that the ‘yes’ camp only narrowly won and with the help of a lot of money and staffing and the massive oppression of its opponents? The answers to those questions remain a mystery. But Turkish-German ‘yes’ voters will ultimately need to answer these questions, ones that we should all have in our minds right now.”
It is evident that a majority Turks living in Germany, some of whom born in the country, voted for a dictatorial regime in Turkey. They manifested less regard for freedom and democracy than the urban Turks living in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, and the Mediterranean parts of Turkey. Indeed, it was a bizarre phenomenon!
Strange as the behavior of a sizable number of Turkish-Germans may appear, it proves that in their innermost psyche, many Turks, even those living in the West, act as Muslims. The fact that they voted for Erdogan, the man who is bent on re-Islamizing Turkey and destroying almost every vestige of Ataturk’s legacy, showed that their core identity is Islam.
In its essence, Islam is an authoritarian and exclusivistic worldview. What a tragedy that some outwardly Westernized Turks living in Germany, and benefiting from its welcome and endless opportunities, have turned their backs on freedom and democracy!
URL for the Spiegel report: