As expected, Emmanuel Macron won the second round of the French presidential elections, after which the EU breathed a huge sigh of relief. However, should the EU really be pleased with the result? Yes, it is good that they turned another corner. But as a matter of fact, glorifying a narrow victory over the racist propaganda of the far-right is quite depressing for the EU.
It is also significant to note that the election actually has no loser. Having received around 11 million votes, Marine Le Pen showed that she was the secret winner of the election by dancing after a press meeting in which she celebrated Macron. Sad but true. Even though the far-right and the racists are not yet in power, they have the support of one third of the French nation. In retrospect, considering the history of Europe, the recent developments are alarming since far-right movements in Europe are gradually gaining strength. In the past, fascism, which condemned Europe to a period of bloodshed and darkness, did not come to the fore all of a sudden in Spain, Italy and Germany. They rather consolidated their power step by step by, masterfully taking advantage of the mistakes of those in power.
At the beginning of 2017, the EU was apprehensive about the possibility of a far-right victory in the Dutch elections. The Dutch election results did not turn out as feared. But the Dutch far-right and racist groups still maintain their visibility. They keep posing a threat to the future of both the Netherlands and the EU with hopes that they will one day accomplish their goals. The second election in 2017 was also feared by many officials in the EU. The immediate danger is gone for now. But the election result is evident. The 11 million voters who opted out against the EU constitute a problem that cannot be overlooked.
This 11 million did not just vote against the EU, they also showed their approval to hostile discourse against Islam, Muslims, Turks, refugees and all other foreigners.
In September, federal elections are to be held in Germany. The Alternative for Germany (AfD), which proudly represents the far-right and racist circles, is likely to have seats in the
Bundestag. Last Sunday, in the regional state elections held in Germany's Schleswig-Holstein state, the AfD entered the state assembly by receiving 5.5 percent of the votes. It is alarming that they managed to enter the assembly of a region where they are weak. It will not be any surprise if they form the third or fourth parliamentary group following the September elections.
The EU must from now on act responsibly by realizing the extent of this threat.
Instead of questioning the "yes" votes in Turkey's recent referendum, they must question the rising far-right movements across Europe. Martin Schulz, the former European Parliament (EP) president and the chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SDP), recently drew attention to himself after employing some sharp anti-Turkish rhetoric. He put emphasis on a "capital punishment referendum" in his remarks, although such an issue is not even on Turkey's agenda. This populist discourse only favors the far-right circles in Germany. The results are evident. Hostility against Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not turn into votes for the SPD in the most recent two state elections in Germany; the party lost in both Saarland and Schleswig-Holstein.
Also, asserting that "the participation in a capital punishment referendum goes against Germany's constitution and the EU's values," means that Schulz remains insufficiently informed about the issue. The chancellery candidate also seems to be unaware of the fact that capital punishment is in effect in his own country, and planning a referendum to abolish this in Hesse is being considered for 2018. As Daily Sabah, we can take on the duty of informing those in the EU who make snap judgments about Turkey through a made-up capital punishment agenda that has not been planned in Turkey. Paragraph no. 21 of the Hesse state constitution sets out the implementation of the death penal
ty to those who have committed a serious offense. Since the federal constitution adopted in 1949 is recognized above the Hesse constitution, the death penalty is not exercised, but it is still present in the text.
The death penalty was last issued in Hesse on Oct. 14, 1864, in Marburg. But this does not necessarily mean that it will not be exercised in the future. We should also be concerned about this point considering the rise of the far-right across the EU.
German politicians have not dared to abolish this paragraph because there are serious concerns in Germany about the result of a referendum on the death penalty. The death penalty in Hesse may be up for abolition in a referendum held on the same day as the Hesse state elections in 2018. In such circumstances, what will Schulz's explanation be?
I really wonder if he will demand a ban on German citizens in Hesse who vote for the death penalty like he has recently demanded for the Turks.
As can be seen, such irresponsible and populist remarks favor neither the EU nor Germany.
Across the EU, the votes for the far-right parties are in the millions. The EU's duty must be to recover those millions from the influence of far-right and racist groups and consolidate democracy again. The EU will only exacerbate tension if it does not take the required measures against this threat and remains indifferent to the hostility against Muslims, Turkey and President Erdoğan. As a result of this, the only winners will be far-right and racist circles while democracy will majorly suffer.