If we could only assimilate you!

Published 24.04.2017 01:36

The democratic theory says that people tend to think rationally when voting. Plato said that; Walter Lippmann, John Dewey and H. L. Mencken repeated it. This belief was so strong that Europeans created the old slogan that "Vox populi, vox dei" (The voice of the people is the voice of God).

Apparently that was true until the German Turks' "vox populi" said "yes" for the constitutional reform in Turkey.

Jochen Bittner, political editor for the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit and a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, recently said that if the Turks in Germany were integrated they would not have voted for the constitutional reforms that grant immense unilateral powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, an anti-democratic hothead, making him a sultan.

That is a mouthful even for a New York Times contributor! The legend has that students trying to waste time in a classroom would ask the teacher which holy man's daughter was eaten by wolves on the mountain. The hapless teacher would start saying that it was not a holy man, but a prophet; not his daughter but his son; not on the mountains but in a desert; and finally the wolf had not eaten him, but the brothers had said so! Like him, how many errors should we correct here before going after the main racist idea?

A. This reform bill is not going to grant any powers to the sitting president because it will kick in in two year's time.

B. It is not going to bestow the president, whoever it will be in November 2019, any more power; quite the opposite, it is going to make him share some powers with Parliament; and he will be accountable for all his deeds and decrees in the court of law, which is not the case now. Parliament can only impeach him on high treason charges.

C. Neither could Herr Bittner, nor anyone in Die Zeit and The New York Times, articulate one antidemocratic deed or decree by Mr. Erdoğan. According to the present system of government, the executive decisions are made by the council of ministers, and they are open to the legal review by at least three high courts or councils of law. There are three opposition parties in Parliament that are keen to challenge every decree to the Constitutional Court.

Bittner directly asks the German-Turkish voters, 76 percent of whom voted for the approval of the constitutional changes: "What's wrong with you, my fellow countrymen and countrywomen?"

Approving the constitutional changes must be wrong, so Herr Bittner needs to know why did "these people" commit the crime. He starts analyzing the social status of Turks in Germany. He finds only one reason for their wrong-ach-zo-wrong voting habits: Those Turks have not been assimilated into Germany:

"That answer, more than anything, represents the failure of Germany to imprint its culture on its Turkish immigrants."

Likewise, his answer, more than the swastikas imprinted on the walls of Turkish mosques and businesses, represents the failure of the democratic theory to imprint its culture on Die Zeit and New York Times journalists.

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