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Merkel, Schulz, Erdogan

Turkey tries to influence German elections

Turkey has cautioned its citizens and former citizens living in Germany to stay away from political gatherings ahead of this month’s election, in a bid to swing the outcome.

Published: September 13, 2017, 10:24 am

    Last month Erdogan urged Turks in Germany not to vote for any mainstream party, as they were “enemies of Turkey”. Turkey believes that Germany, home to three million ethnic Turks, is sheltering suspected coup plotters.

    Relations between Germany and Turkey have cooled dramatically since last year’s attempted overthrow of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Germany’s mild criticism of an ensuing crackdown which saw more than 50 000 civil servants arrested.

    Berlin has refused to extradite asylum seekers Ankara accuses of involvement in the failed coup. Meanwhile German or Turkish-German citizens, detained by Turkish authorities on political charges, have not been released.

    The Turkish government asked its citizens to “stay away from political debates, political party gatherings ahead of the general election” on 24 September, and the Turkish foreign ministry urged Turks living in Germany “to be cautious, taking into account the situation in Germany where they could risk xenophobic or racist treatment”.

    Ankara claimed there was “discrimination” against Turks “on the basis of their political views”, which has led to “verbal attacks against some of our citizens”.

    Turks are neither strangers to anti-European notions, nor to influencing politics. In Germany, Turks have promoted their interests vigorously, also with the help of chancellor Merkel’s open door policy. All mainstream German parties are courting Muslim votes, except the AfD.

    Parties courting Muslim votes, called for “religious freedom” and “ending racism”. Martin Schulz, SPD candidate, said only Muslims contributed towards “peaceful dialogue” in his country.

    Çigdem Akkaya, deputy director of the Essen Center for Turkic Studies, told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung of 27 March 2002 however: “People will finally say goodbye to the illusion that Germany belongs to the Germans.”

    Cem Özdemir, Bundestag deputy Bündnis90/The Greens, told the Green Party conference in Bonn-Bad Godesberg in 1998 already: “The German offspring are now called Mustafa, Giovanni and Ali!” In an interview Susanne Zeller-Hirzel he said: “We want Germany to become Islamic.”

    The widely acclaimed German politician said in an interview with Hürriyet in 1998 in Turkish: “What our forefathers did not make at the gates of Vienna, we will create with our minds!”

    Ibrahim El-Zayat, President of the Islamic Community in Germany, in the Jugendzeitschrift der Muslimische Jugend (MJ) TNT, No. 1/9, 1996, p.2, said: “I do not believe that it is impossible for the Federal Chancellor to be a Muslim born and raised in Germany in the year 2020, that we have a Muslim judge or a Muslim judge in the Federal Constitutional Court, and that a Muslim representative is sitting on the Radio Council constitutionally guaranteed rights of Muslim citizens. […] This country is our country, and it is our duty to change it positively. With the help of Allah, we will make it our paradise on earth to make it available to the Islamic Ummah and humanity altogether. Allah does not change the position of a people until the people change their position.”

    Vural Öger, SPD Member of the European Parliament and entrepreneur of Öger Tours, noted that: “What Sultan Süleyman began with the siege of Vienna in 1529 will be realized by the inhabitants, with our strong men and healthy women.”

    In 2011, the Pew Global Attitudes and Trends survey found that only 6 percent of Turks had a favorable opinion of Christians, but mainstream German parties ignore such details.

    Banners “celebrating” the Armenian genocide were spotted in several cities throughout Turkey in February 2015. “We celebrate the 100th anniversary of our country being cleansed of [Christian] Armenians. We are proud of our glorious ancestors.”

    A 2004 an official dispatch from US Consulate in Istanbul, leaked by WikiLeaks, noted that a campaign against a Turkish Armenian journalist (who was eventually murdered in 2007) “exposed an ugly streak of racism in Turkish society”.

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