We were in Germany on Sunday.
Thousands of Turkish-German citizens gathered in Cologne as part of the "democracy against the coup" rally, cursing the atrocious coup attempt. What could be more natural than these people's efforts to protect democracy in the EU, which claims to have advanced democracy? Can people in Europe not organize activities to protest coups? Our people living in Germany only wanted to use their right to demonstrate, which is one of the indispensable rights of citizenship.
Firstly, they wanted to organize the rally in Dusseldorf, but they were not allowed to organize it in Dusseldorf for some trivial reasons. They then applied to hold it in Cologne. And then things started to get strange in Germany. The people who wanted to show their support for democracy had to confront various restrictions on July 31.
When they wanted to defend democracy, some unknown forces canceled the portable toilets arranged for the rally and the contracts with bus companies that would transport people to the rally area were also canceled. If I list all the restrictions implemented by those who claim President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a dictator, the genuine democrats in the EU would be ashamed.
Trying to prevent the democracy rally for "safety reasons," German police displayed the double standard they implemented by allowing four other rallies in the same city. The other rallies, which were organized to shadow the democracy against the coup rally and were strangely not restricted, did not attract public attention because of the small number of people there. On the other hand, about 100,000 people participated in the democracy against the coup rally. Radical right-wing groups, dissidents of Turkey and some marginal left-wing groups and parties known for their support to the outlawed PKK and Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ), took to the streets with permission, but they still did not achieve their goals. There were no provocations because the Turkish-Germans coming to Cologne for democracy did not allow it.
However, Germany, claiming to be a stronghold of democracy, marked another disgraceful implementation in the name of democracy. While PKK flags and the organizations imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan's photos are allowed during the rallies organized by PKK supporters in Germany, Germany's Constitutional Court prohibited Erdoğan's video conference as part of the event on Sunday.
Those who accuse Erdoğan of prohibiting freedom of expression and limiting democratic liberties, restricted the message from Erdoğan, who is a democratic leader who repelled a coup attempt by calling millions to the streets on July 15.
Is this their exemplary democracy?
I think those in the EU contradict democratic values and have a lot to learn from Turks.
I suggest they visit Turkey to see how democracy is defended. They must see that the right to demonstrate is not restricted in Turkey, which they defame as a country of prohibitions. In Turkey, banning the live-feed video speech of a president of an allied country as part of a permitted demonstration would be scandalous.
For this reason, Ankara rightfully gave a harsh response to the German institutions that issued the ban. Issuing a written statement, presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın said: "It is quite meaningful that our president is now being prevented with such trivial excuses from participating in an anti-coup democracy rally even though he has addressed this kind of events via video conference in the past. It is against democracy and the freedom of expression and assembly to try to block de facto and de jure, instead of appreciating and encouraging, a rally that promotes freedom and the rule of law against the July 15 coup attempt."
Kalın also said that it is unacceptable that authorities that remained silent in past to the acts and demonstrations of the separatist PKK are now working to bring under suspicion and block an anti-coup rally. "Security precautions should not be taken against those who organize a democratic meeting, but against terror supporters and anti-democratic provocateurs," he said. Also, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ called the prohibition "disrespectful to democracy." Bozdağ said: "From now on, Germany's articulations of notions, including democracy, state of law, human rights and liberties against Turkey cannot be accepted."
In my opinion, the statements issued in Turkey must be discussed in the EU because it seems like Turks' successful fight against the fascist coup attempt caused disappointment in the EU for some reason. Renowned Social Democrat leader, former West German Chancellor Willy Brandt, was right when he said: "More, much more democracy." It is evident that there is a need for much more democracy in some EU countries that employ all kinds of implementations to oppose Erdoğan. Instead of exposing democracy dissidence such as the live ticker at the Vienna airport that says: "With vacation in Turkey you will only support Erdoğan," it is necessary to analyze what is happening in Turkey correctly. And supporting Turks instead of defaming them would protect EU values.
Are those who allow the PKK to set up propaganda tents in Brussels and display photos of PKK terrorists at European Parliament exemplary democrats?
Are those who allow the PKK's Syrian affiliate, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), to open offices in Paris and Stockholm really against terrorism?
In some EU countries it is represented as if the FETÖ coup attempt had never happened and killed hundreds on July 15. Are they the strongholds of democracy who restrict the defenders of democracy against coups?
How could those who try to block the right to demonstration in Cologne give democracy advice to Turkey?
Does it make any sense if those blocking Erdoğan's 10-minute video address say that liberties are restricted in Turkey?
Yes, the situation is desperate. EU countries have failed in their reactions to the democracy defenders of Turkey.
Quo vadis Europe?