Anti-Turkish sentiment cost SPD votes among dual nationals across Germany

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 08.09.2017 00:51

Research has recently revealed that Berlin's political strife with Ankara has cost the Social Democratic Party (SPD) chancellor candidate Martin Schulz the votes of German-Turks, as their apathy toward the Sept. 24 general elections in Germany continues to grow.

According to research conducted by the Turkish European Foundation for Education and Scientific Studies (TAVAK) between Aug. 30 and Sept. 3, support for the SPD among Turkish-German voters declined to 45 percent from 54 percent in 2013. In contrast, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) saw a 10-percent increase among Turkish voters for the first time, with 12 percent.

The Green Party, which has gathered votes from Turkish-German voters in the past, stood at 7 percent according to TAVAK's findings, compared to 11 percent four years ago.

As the Turkish government remains locked in a political crisis with Berlin, research found that 38 percent of Turkish-German voters do not have an interest in the elections and will not cast their ballots.

Only around 44 percent of Turkish-German voters will vote in the German elections, according to the findings. The research was conducted with 1,072 people in the German cities of Berlin, Duisburg, Essen, Cologne, Hannover, Frankfurt and Munich.

TAVAK President Professor Faruk Şen, who has been following German politics for a long time, stressed that the support among Turkish-Germans for the SPD drastically fell to 45 percent recently, compared to an overwhelming 67 percent support in 1987. "For the first time, the Christian Democrats have exceeded the 10-percent threshold. The most important development stems from the fact that Germans of Turkish descent in Germany have not shown interest in these elections," Prof. Şen said.

The professor underscored that the reason Turkish-German voters have distanced themselves from the German elections is: "Voters decided not to head to the polls or to not vote, especially because of the hostility that German politicians from every party have shown towards Turkey."

According to TAVAK's president, Turks living in Germany are deeply affected by the ongoing strife between the two countries. "The Turkish population in Germany is negatively affected by the conflict between Berlin and Ankara to a large extent."

In the run-up to the elections, all of Germany's political candidates have promised to increase pressure on Turkey and to bring an end to Turkey's EU accession talks as part of their election campaigns.

On Sunday, Ankara criticized the current state of German politics for focusing on anti-Turkey sentiments, which he said indicates a growing "lack of vision" in Europe.

In a series of tweets posted on his official Twitter account earlier this week, presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said that it is "no coincidence" that the televised debate broadcast on Sunday between Chancellor Merkel and her opponent, center-left candidate Schulz, was focused on Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

During the televised debate, Merkel said that she would ask the EU to call off membership talks with Turkey amid escalating tensions between Berlin and Ankara. "I don't see them ever joining [the EU] and I had never believed that it would happen," she said during a televised debate with her Social Democratic rival Schulz ahead of upcoming elections later this month.

"The fact is clear that Turkey should not become a member of the EU," Merkel said after Schulz asserted that he would stop Turkey's bid to join the EU if he were elected chancellor.

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