Erdogan has no friends left in German politics

Erdogan has no friends left in German politics

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has once again caused an outcry among German politicians and the public with his latest statement. On Friday, the Turkish leader called on Turks living in Germany not to vote for the two parties in Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition at the upcoming elections to the Bundestag. Similarly, they should not vote for Social Democrats or the Greens. These parties, according to Erdogan, are "Turkey's enemies." The President advised ethnic Turks in Germany to "support those political parties who are not enemies of Turkey".

It was the first time when Turkish President has intervened in the domestic policy of Germany so openly. Chancellor Angela Merkel, in turn, said that Germany would not allow anyone to interfere in the process of shaping public opinion in the country. Foreign Minister, leader of Germany's Social Democrats Sigmar Gabriel called Erdogan's statement "unprecedented act of interference" in Germany's sovereignty. Gabriel believes that the Turkish president "wants to incite people in Germany against each other".

Angela Merkel's main election opponent, the leader of the Social Democrats Martin Schulz, wrote about this on his Twitter page: "Erdoğan has lost every measure. All the more, we are on the side of all those who are fighting for a free and democratic Turkey".

But which German parties should Turks vote for, according to Erdogan? It is noteworthy that the German Turks traditionally prefer to vote for the Social Democrats and the Greens, not least because of their liberal migration policy. The Left (Die Linke), the Free Democrats (FDP) and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) are also among the parties, which may join the Bundestag, in addition to the ones mentioned by Erdogan.

The Left party enjoys the support of many people from Turkey. However, first of all, it's about the ethnic Kurds who migrated to Germany. The German Left's sympathy for the Marxist-oriented Kurdistan Workers' Party, officially recognized as a terrorist organization in the EU, is not a big secret. Ankara's extremely skeptical attitude towards the Left party can be measured by at least Turkey's repeated ban on the deputies of this party from visiting the Bundeswehr troops stationed in Turkey. So, one can hardly imagine that President Erdogan would advise his supporters in Germany to vote for this party.

The Free Democrats party (FDP) also does not position itself as a party that sympathizes with the current Turkish government. For example, in March of this year, the FDP leader Christian Lindner accused Erdogan of "turning Turkey into an Islamist presidential dictatorship", and also called for the European Union to quit membership talks with Turkey.

Finally, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), as a right-wing populist party with a strong position against Muslims and migrants, cannot be considered "a friend" of Turkey or the bulk of the German Turks. For example, following the referendum in Turkey this year, which was held to decide the issue of the country's transition to the presidential form of government, the AfD co-leader Alice Weidel demanded that all German Turks who voted for constitutional amendments leave Germany because they are "Erdogan's fifth column" . The member of the party's board,  Georg Pazderski, called on to close the religious organization DITIB because of "spying for Erdogan." The AfD party also supports the abolition of dual citizenship, which will seriously damage the interests of hundreds of thousands of German Turks who possess the citizenship of both countries.

Thus, the purpose of President Erdogan's call for German Turks is not entirely clear. After all, the attitude of the CDU, the SPD and the Greens towards Turkey is no worse than the attitude of the Left, the Free Democrats or the Alternative for Germany. More precisely, modern Turkey and its political leadership, as a whole, is viewed equally negative by all these parties. The Turkish leadership has no friends left among the German political parties, which may enter the new Bundestag.