Turkey election in “Hard but fair”: “The election has not yet been decided”


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Turkey election in “hard but fair”

“The election is not quite decided yet”

By Marko Schlichting

After the elections in Turkey, disillusionment is spreading among those who had hoped for an end to the Erdogan era. He is “very nervous,” says Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, looking ahead to the coming weeks.

Türkiye’s future is uncertain. And most of the guests on “Hart aber fair” on ARD don’t see them particularly optimistically. On May 28, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will face his challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu in a run-off election. He leads an alliance of six very different parties. Erdogan won less than 50 percent of the vote in Sunday’s elections, but clearly beat his challenger in the first round.

“This is the most important election this year in the whole world,” analyzes FDP foreign policy expert Alexander Graf Lambsdorff. The politician is concerned. A run-off election would heat up the already tense political climate in Turkey even further. “A crisis can be triggered, there can be attacks. Then the people who voted for Kilicdaroglu could switch back to Erdogan. I’m very nervous about the next two weeks.” The elections themselves were free, but not fair. Erdogan was seen on television much more often than his challenger, and always in a positive context. An observation that can be proven. President Erdogan has been on Turkish public television for a total of 42 hours over the past four weeks, and challenger Kilicdaroglu for just 38 minutes. According to Lambsdorff, the mood in Turkey is being manipulated in favor of Erdogan.

“Devastating Result”

“The result on Sunday was devastating,” says the German-Turkish publicist Deniz Yücel. Erdogan’s government record in recent years is devastating. In Turkey, inflation has led to mass impoverishment, and Erdogan’s policy after the earthquake a few weeks ago was a disaster. The President is responsible for dismantling press freedom and the rule of law in Turkey. There are allegations of corruption and nepotism against the President. “The fact that Erdogan still got such a good result is devastating,” says Yücel. But the publicist, who spent a year in a prison in Turkey on charges of terrorist propaganda for the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), has not given up hope: “The election has not yet been decided,” he says at ” Hard but fair”.

However, especially in Germany, Erdogan enjoys great popularity in the Turkish community. For example at Ufuk Varol.

“I voted for Erdogan”

Varol has arrived in Germany. He was born in Cologne and says about himself: “No one is a carnival fan like me.” His German has the typical Cologne accent. He flies to Turkey once a year, sometimes with his family, sometimes for his company, one of the world’s most successful fashion jewelry retailers. For him, the presidential election is important “because Turkey’s fate can change.” There is still a lot to improve in Turkey.

Varol voted for Erdogan, as did part of his family. Originally they didn’t agree with the president, he says in “Hard but fair”. “But then we saw that something decent was happening in Turkey and then we turned around.”

Varol praises Erdogan. He changed a lot. He has strengthened women’s rights, and never before have there been so many rights for the Kurdish minority as they are now.

However, one cannot compare Turkey with Germany: The country has been waging a war against terrorism for forty years – in the form of the Kurdish Workers’ Party. “You have to understand that when you’re in this situation, some things happen differently.”

According to Varol, many German politicians would have liked Erdogan to be voted out of office. However, he has been in power for twenty years, first as prime minister and now as president. If someone has been elected by the majority of the population for twenty years, that cannot be wrong. This year there was also a turnout of 80 percent in Turkey. “When was the last time that happened in Germany?” asks Varol.

Of course one can criticize Varol’s statements, and Yücel and Graf Lambsdorff do that too. So Erdogan is in the process of Islamizing Turkey more and more, says the FDP politician. But Varol sticks to his opinion: “It’s not as bad in Turkey as it is portrayed in Germany, although of course we also have a lot of mistakes.”

In the end, neither Yücel nor Count Lambsdorff was impressed by Varol, and the FDP politician mentioned one point that actually speaks against Erdogan: He has been preventing Sweden from joining NATO for months. But Lambsdorff does not know whether Erdogan’s challenger Kilicdaroglu will react differently.

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