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Turkey's president Erdogan: He has a network of loyalist politicians in Germany. Picture: Kremlin (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Germany: Turkish politicians as Erdogan’s agents of influence?

A bevy of politicians of Turkish origin in Germany have invariably openly appeared as propagandists for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his party the AKP. Are their careers supported by Ankara?

Published: July 23, 2020, 3:48 pm

    Ankara

    German newspaper Der Westen is currently reporting on the case of Eyüp Odabasi, a long-time local Green politician of the city of Bünde in North Rhine-Westphalia, who is no longer allowed to stand for the election because of his overt and obvious pro-Erdogan propaganda. The Greens had protested strongly against Odabasi’s Turkish nationalist statements.

    Can Odabasi now start a second political career in Turkey as an AKP politician? Similar cases have already confirmed such a presumption.

    In this context, Der Westen lists a number of Turkish politicians, mostly SPD and Green Party members, who, after their political career in Germany, were able to start a second political career in Turkey as loyal Erdogan supporters: Ozan Ceyhun, a long-time member of the European Parliament (1998-2004) for the Greens and then for the SPD, worked as an advisor to the Turkish government in Ankara. He also ran for a seat in the Turkish parliament – as a candidate of the Erdogan party, the AKP. Today he is Turkish ambassador in Vienna.

    Similarly, Mustafa Erkan, former SPD member in the Lower Saxony parliament, also ran unsuccessfully for the AKP in Turkish parliamentary elections and is now an advisor to the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu.

    What is particularly striking here, is that all the aforementioned Turkish politicians from the left-wing liberal parties SPD and the Greens, which call themselves “progressive”, easily switch to Erdogan’s ultra-conservative Islamic AKP.

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    • LuciusAnnaeusSeneca

      It seems that Turkish government officials, including ambassadors, are getting a lot of training beforehand in European affairs courtesy of the German political system. Meanwhile, few if any Europeans, including Germans, know much about Turkey or its politics. Or, it seems, President Erdogan’s broader neo-Ottoman agenda.

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