Anti-Turkey sentiment does not bring votes

Published 01.08.2017 00:18

Germany and Austria are in extensive electoral campaigns ahead of their elections that will be held in September and October, respectively. Conflicts over elections are particularly heated in Germany. Former European Parliament Chairman Martin Schulz, who is the main opposition Social Democratic Party's (SPD) candidate for the upcoming election in Germany, could not display the expected success against Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is especially successful in the economy. Let alone their target of being the first party, they are facing the risk of not entering the government. Being the ruling power in the federal government by forming a coalition with political alliance between the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU), the SPD now confronts the danger of losing its present position if its decline continues. If the Free Democratic Party's (FDP) vote share does not suffice, a Jamaica coalition with the participation of the Greens might be in question. Although a Jamaica coalition of the CDU/CSU, FDP and the Greens would be quite a challenge, it is still within possibility with the Greens' ambition to have seats.

However, the most reasonable option for the stability and interests of Germany is a CDU/CSU-SPD coalition. But this coalition of stability that has been in power for nearly eight years might lose its chance for the next term due to Schulz's faulty tactics.

Formerly a Gerhard Schröder supporter, Schulz made his first mistake when he introduced a program that conflicted with Schröder's. Schröder owed his success to his slogan: My country comes before my party. He even broke a taboo as a chancellor from the SPD by objecting to the incoherent demands of unions. Thanks to this, he put the German economy on the right track. On the other hand, Schulz has turned out to be a great disappointment with his weak, radical left-wing slogans and promises.

Schulz also targeted Merkel's successful refugee policy and the cooperation with Turkey done for this sake. But like every politician who criticizes something without offering an alternative, he lost his plausibility. On top of that, he adopted a stance that is the exact opposite of Schröder's and has frequently expressed his anti-Turkey sentiment by insulting both Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with an aim to increase his votes. This has been his most dramatic mistake since the racists who are antagonistic to Turkey and the Left Party, which is known for his antagonism to Turkey while advocating for the outlawed PKK, have already adopted this discourse. So, Schulz could not appeal to the electorate with his anti-Turkey remarks as they are already in circulation with the propaganda of these parties.

Schulz also criticized Merkel for her policy on Turkey by rising to the bait of the Left Party, which provoked the İncirlik and Konya Air Base crises between Turkey and Germany by appointing a deputy who is a PKK proponent as a delegation member. This was preposterous for Schulz since his SPD is a coalition partner and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel is the former chairman of the SPD. Since Gabriel takes every step by consulting Merkel, Schulz practically criticized his own party.

Schulz keeps attacking Turkey and Erdoğan due to the independent and impartial court decisions issued in Turkey, which is a state of law. With this attitude, he actually provoked anti-Turkey sentiment in Germany. Regardless of whether he did this intentionally, the situation eventually favored the Alternative for Germany (AfD). Becoming the umbrella racist party in Germany by eliminating all the reasonable politicians within the party, the AfD revived antagonism of Turks, Muslims and refugees by masterfully adding fuel to the flames ignited by Schulz, the Left Party and the Greens.

The most recent surveys demonstrate the situation. Merkel and CDU/CSU have 38 percent support, which is successful. The FDP is going up with 8 percent. The anti-Turkey league, on the other hand, cannot form a government even if they coalesce, as the SPD's share is 25 percent, the Left Party has 9 percent and the Greens have 8 percent. Despite that, the AfD has been revived with 9 percent support. All the slogans and discourse against Turks and Muslims bring votes to the AfD.

But Germany unfortunately refuses to draw lessons from the situation, which is alarming. Lately, media outlets and some politicians from the SPD, the Left and the Greens have warned people against traveling to Turkey, which favored racists in every aspect.

Although Turkey poses no danger to tourists, they scare and deceive the German public by lying that Turkey poses a risk to life, which undermines Turkey and Germany alike.

Attempting to hinder tourists from visiting Turkey is absurd. If those doing this assert that they support democracy in Turkey, they are making a colossal mistake. With the tourist boycott, they do great harm to people and shopkeepers, especially those living in western and southern Turkey. In addition, they do the greatest harm in the regions that vote for the opposition. So, in the name of supporting democracy, they are actually undermining the people, most of whom did not vote for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). So, those in Turkey who admire Europe and have hopes for Germany vis-a-vis the ruling party have directly been harmed by the senseless tourism boycott implemented by German politicians.

But the greatest harm is being done to the German public. By brainwashing Germans with their media propaganda, they turn them against Turks. Germans do not only stop traveling to Turkey, but also develop negative relations with their Turkish colleagues and neighbors under the influence of this odious propaganda.

We experienced this in the past. Remember the course of events when some media outlets and parties provoked anti-refugee sentiment when an excessive number of refugees appeared at the gates of Europe a while ago? We did not forget about Hoyerswerda and Rostock. Also, remember the cases of Möln and Solingen, which cannot possibly be forgotten by any Turk or any German democrat. None of them happened abruptly.

Not only German citizens are exposed to the media propaganda calling people to boycott tourism in Turkey, radical right and racist groups are also following the propaganda with pleasure.

In the past, they focused on their target following such extensive propaganda. Our people who were killed in Möln and Solingen were victimized as a result of the racist mindset that assumed that such propaganda gave them the liberty to assault Turks.

I am worried when I look back on the past, and I am addressing all democrats in Germany: Make them end the media propaganda for a tourism boycott that only foments racism. Do not allow people in Germany to be victimized by racists once again.

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