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Why Many Turks in Germany Still Vote for Erdogan

Recep Tayyip Erdogan is facing an uphill reelection battle, but if the vote took place in Germany, he’d win. Why do many Turks in Germany continue to support the Turkish president?

Turks living in Turkey won’t be the only ones voting for a new president and parliament in the upcoming general election on May 14 — Turkish citizens all over the world will also take part. That’s also true in Germany, which has the largest Turkish diaspora. According to a migration report publicized five years ago by Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), there are around 2.8 million people living in Germany who have a Turkish migration background, and approximately half of them have Turkish citizenship.

Between April 27 and May 9, Turkish citizens living in Germany can cast their ballots at 14 foreign representative offices and consulates. Turkey’s Consul General Turhan Kaya told DW that he was unable reveal any specifics about the voting process as it was pending approval from German officials. The outcome of the election is still up in the air, and this time Recep Tayyip Erdogan might actually lose. His challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the social-democratic and Kemalist Republican People’s Party (CHP) has widespread political and societal support.

Erdogan’s Strong Base of Support in Germany

If the election took place in Germany, Erdogan and his Justice and Development party (AKP) would enjoy a decisive victory.

Metin Sirin has been living in Cologne for 43 years. He worked for Ford-Werke, a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, for four decades, and was an active union member. Sirin has voted for Erdogan before, and he told DW he will do so again in the upcoming election. “My sympathy for the AKP has increased in the last 20 years,” he said.

“People with Turkish roots in Germany vote overwhelmingly for Erdogan. That’s the reality,” explains Yunus Ulusoy from the Center for Studies on Turkey and Integration Research (ZfTI) at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Almost 63% of Turks living in Germany voted for Erdogan’s constitutional referendum in 2017, even though only 51% of Turks living in Turkey supported the measure. The referendum transformed the country from a parliamentary system into a presidential system. The country’s 2018 presidential elections followed a similar trend as 64.8% of Turks living in Germany voted for Erdogan, while a significantly smaller 52.6% of the population in Turkey voted for his reelection.

Source : Indian Express