Focus on Turkish diaspora after referendum

The presidential system Erdoğan wants to introduce received far more support from Turks in Europe than from those living in Turkey itself. According to the state news agency Anadolu, almost 60 percent of European Turks voted Yes in the referendum. What does the result tell us about the integration of Turks in Europe, and what action should be taken?

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Spiegel Online (DE) /

Passport has nothing to do with loyalty

The CDU has called for restrictions on dual citizenship in reaction to the voting behaviour of Turks living in Germany. A misguided debate, Spiegel Online finds:

“When making decisions about passports most people are more concerned about practical matters like ease of travel or the right to own property in a country than about big politics. And what would be the result if people had to opt for just one passport, as some in the CDU and the AfD are demanding - and these people choose the Turkish passport? They would still live in Germany but their sense of loyalty to the country certainly wouldn't be any stronger than if they had both passports. And if instead they felt compelled to opt for the German passport, would they automatically feel committed to a free, democratic society? Unfortunately that's just wishful thinking.”

24 Chasa (BG) /

Parallel society risk

The results of the Turkish referendum in Western Europe show how unintegrated the Turks living there are, the daily paper 24 Chasa comments, fearing that the same fate awaits migrants from the Middle East:

“ How is it possible that the dictator only just managed to secure 51.4 percent of the vote in oppressed Turkey while 60 percent voted in his favour in free Europe? This raises the question of whether the many migrants that have come here in recent years because of the wars in the Middle East will at some stage have the same attitude as Turks who have been living in Western Europe for decades. A recent study from Germany shows that 80 percent of the Turks there are not happy with what they have achieved. These are people who haven't realized their dreams. They seal themselves off in their conservative society and blame it all on the government in Berlin.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Stop Turkey from exerting influence abroad

Turks living in Europe have not been properly integrated or adequately protected from Ankara's influence, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung complains:

“Germany and other European states have for too long turned a blind eye to the danger posed by parallel societies. The Turkish state has been given free rein to drive wedges between 'its' citizens and their schoolmates, co-workers and neighbours in Europe by indoctrinating and manipulating them through state-financed mosques and other state organisations. Europe must prevent foreign states from trying to exert undue influence on its population, even if this conflicts with the principles of tolerance and openness. These values are being abused when the integration of resident population groups is deliberately thwarted and European societies are saddled with the resulting costs.”

Contributors (RO) /

Radicalisation will increase

The voting patterns of many Turks living outside Turkey show two things, political scientist Valentin Naumescu explains on Contributors:

“First of all, the majority of Turks in the EU feel no affinity whatsoever for the Western countries they live in, even though these countries have presumably given them a higher living standard than they had in Turkey. Secondly, it could be that these minorities, which until now have got along relatively well with the majority society, are becoming more radicalised and represent a source of social instability, anti-system violence, crime and even terrorism. ... It is possible that the radicalisation of the Turks (that is of the Muslims) in Europe is advancing with the rise of xenophobic, nationalist parties in the EU. That being said, there's no indication that one is the reaction to the other. Both trends are dangerous for the EU, and they have one thing in common: the aggressive and dangerous return to identity-based discourses, which as a rule lead to major confrontations.”

Jyllands-Posten (DK) /

Parents must also want integration

The upbringing of migrant children plays a key role in defining their attitudes to politics and society, Jyllands-Posten points out:

“Commentators, among them intelligent Turks living abroad, see the support for Erdoğan as an expression of dissatisfaction with the circumstances in which Turkish communities live. They see themselves faced with discrimination, they talk of racism and are glad that someone like Erdoğan is finally banging his fist on the table of the insufferable Germans, Dutch and so on. The following must be said: Yes, discrimination and perhaps even racism exist here and there, and that is always reprehensible. But immigrants and refugees have always had to deal with it. The Jews and Asians, for example. But precisely these two groups have generally grinned and borne it, raised their children as law-abiding citizens and ensured that they get a good education. They thrive and prosper in the society they live in. The vote on Sunday testifies to a different kind of reaction. The Turks in Western Europe must rethink their views.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

Clear victory for Erdoğan in the liberal West

Turks living outside Turkey provided the most paradoxical results in the Turkish referendum, according to Lidové noviny:

“Erdoğan's key bastions apart from the rural areas in his own country are the Turkish communities and voters in Germany (63 percent), the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium and Austria (over 70 percent). Europe needs to digest this information now. Erdoğan received the most votes in those countries that offer the Turks a liberal democracy and a multicultural society and that fiercely opposed the AKP's campaign on their soil. In other words: the Turks that voted most for a strongman state don't live in Ankara or Istanbul (49 percent Yes) but in Dortmund (76 percent) and even in liberal, green Berlin (50.13 percent). The idea that several generations of living in the EU will turn the Turks into 'new German world citizens' is wrong.”

Kurier (AT) /

Turkish diaspora's Yes vote is fatal

It is shocking that a clear majority of Turks living outside Turkey voted for a presidential system in the country, Kurier writes:

“The fact that in Austria almost a two-thirds majority (with a 50 percent turnout that translates into roughly 40,000 people) backed the introduction of an authoritarian constitution cannot go uncommented. It would be an act of negligence to simply go back to business as usual. The result also sheds a critical light on those in the Yes camp. Many of them have been living in Austria for decades, they enjoy all the privileges offered by a democratic constitutional state - and unlike almost half of all the Turks in their former homeland, they are in favour of a system in which one man can dictate practically everything. Not only are such votes politically worrying, they were also cast from a safe distance: because if Erdoğan takes his country in the direction of a dictatorship, those in Austria who voted Yes would not feel the consequences of the repression.”

Duma (BG) /

Western Europe letting itself be duped

Of the roughly 1,300 Turks who participated in the referendum in Bulgaria, only 29 percent voted Yes, Duma writes in delight, at the same time casting a worried look at the results in Western Europe:

“For Bulgaria this is good and bad news. The good news is that the Turks in Bulgaria voted in favour of democracy and common sense. The bad news is that Western Europe has become bogged down by its principles, values and ideals, and is now stupidly letting itself be led around by the nose by Erdoğan. At the same time, the West's hostile policy vis-à-vis Russia has lost it an important ally. The West, however, can afford to make such mistakes because it is far away and has learned from history that other countries play the role of 'bloody threshold' [to the Orient]. If we Bulgarians want to avoid playing this role a second time we must demand new and stronger guarantees for our security.”