Despite the economic crisis and the collapse of the rule of law, Recep Tayyip Erdogan remains President of Turkey.
Even if the elections were never fair, it is important for Germany and Europe to quickly accept the new old reality and build a bridge to Turkey. Despite the economic crisis and the collapse of the rule of law, Recep Tayyip Erdogan remains President of Turkey. Even if the elections were never fair, it is important for Germany and Europe to quickly accept the new old reality and build a bridge to Turkey. After all, there is too much at stake for all actors to deteriorate relations.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan remains President of Turkey. He has won once again and will determine the fate of Turkey for another five years after two decades. The obvious reasons for his victory: control of almost all media and their contents, control of the judiciary and thus the possibility of suppressing political opponents and – here both are combined – the unscrupulousness of accusing his opponent of being close to the terrorist organization PKK with lies and fake news.
Those who are not too shy about such a strategy and have the means to bring these false allegations to the people on a continuous loop will win even the most hopeless elections – despite the disastrous economic situation and the increasingly dismantled rule of law. Under really fair conditions, Erdogan would hardly have received more than 25% of the vote. The narrow re-election with around 52% is also a failure for him, as he had aimed for a clear victory with around 60% for the run-off. True legitimacy looks different. But what does this result mean?
The opposition will first have to shake off this feat of strength of recent years and the moment of failure. I think it is likely that the alliance can continue to exist in this constellation. Those involved will soon acknowledge the fact that the run-off election was already a great success and that the loss of votes for Erdogan's camp was immense. There will be a Turkey after President Erdogan, and the mood of change in almost half of the population will only be able to grow further in case of doubt.
Kilicdaroglu's great message was to unite the country. In view of the very divided election result, this message is still more important than ever before.
And that leads me to Germany. How should our federal government deal with Erdogan's election victory? Yes, it is undeniable that the spectrum of democratic parties in our country was united in hoping that the weakening ruler would be voted out of office. And yet we would do well to face up to this new old reality as quickly as possible, to recognise the winner of the election and not to let the thread of conversation break. It is to be welcomed that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz immediately invited Erdogan to Berlin to quickly resume talks on common concerns. A glance at the map of the world is enough to see the geostrategic importance of Turkey. Germany and Europe depend on Turkey as a partner country. But Turkey is also dependent on Germany and Europe. And that is why, in the upcoming talks, our government should also make very clear Germany's hope and expectation that Erdogan recognizes the signs of the times. The economic situation in his country is disastrous, and the rule of law hardly exists. In particular, the young population sees hardly any prospects for themselves in the current state of the country. President Erdogan will no longer be able to ignore this during his new term in office.
Karaahmetoglu_Macit__BTG-StellaVonSaldern (1).jpg © BTG/StellaVonSaldern
The former hope before the election, also in parts of the german-Turkish community, was that Turkey could move closer to Europe again after an opposition victory. That there could be visa-free travel or that the customs union could be strengthened. To throw all this overboard would be the completely wrong signal – Erdogan or not. Because Turkey is not Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey is a country with over 60 million voters, almost half of whom do not support the destructive course of the incumbent ruler.
Regardless of this undoubtedly disappointing election result, Germany should build a bridge – for the people of Turkey and for the future of this country, even if it is still a few years away behind dark clouds.
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About the person
Macit Karaahmetoğlu was born in Rize (Turkey) in 1968 and came to Germany at the age of 11. The specialist lawyer for copyright and media law has been running his own law firm since 1997 and has been a member of the SPD parliamentary group for the Ludwigsburg constituency since 2021. He is deputy chairman of the German-Turkish Parliamentary Group and president of the German-Turkish Society (DTG e.V.).