Germany becomes pro-AKP media’s latest bête noire

May 28, 2014

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s recent tactic to feed its supporters a steady diet of enemies has turned its focus on Germany over the last few weeks. The green light came with the verbal joust between German President Joachim Gauck and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, during the former’s visit to Ankara at the end of April. After Gauck sharply criticised the state of press freedom and freedom of expression in Turkey, Erdoğan responded in reliably pugnacious style, declaring that the Lutheran Gauck “still thinks of himself as a pastor” and “cannot interfere in our country’s internal affairs.”

Equally reliably, the pro-government media has zealously taken up Erdoğan’s cause, gorging itself on anti-German material over the last couple of weeks including moronic, depressingly predictable Nazi analogies. Germany has thus taken its place alongside Jews, Masons, Atheists, Britain, the U.S., the “interest rate lobby,” the “parallel state,” and assorted domestic collaborators, in a “dirty alliance” to bring down Erdoğan and his government. This media campaign has been thrown a fair amount of red meat by a few ill-advised stories and headlines in Germany. Ahead of the prime minister’s much-anticipated rally in Cologne on May 24, for example, popular tabloid Bild carried a front page headline addressed to Erdoğan, declaring: “You’re not welcome.” The AKP-friendly media took full advantage, describing this as the latest evidence that Germany is frightened of Turkey’s unstoppable rise and is trying to sabotage Erdoğan’s political career (and thus Turkey’s path to a glorious future). Some of this stuff has been harmless tabloid fare, while some of it has been more worrying. Last week, German news magazine Der Speigel announced that it was withdrawing its Turkey correspondent, Hasnain Kazim, after he received over 10,000 threatening messages from online pro-government trolls, including death threats. His crime was to quote in a headline the reaction of a protesting miner in the disaster-struck town of Soma, who reportedly said, “Go to hell, Erdoğan.”


Akşam claims that "Turkish-Europe" lobbies - including Turkish media boss Aydın Doğan - are working in partnership in a slander campaign against the AKP government.

Akşam newspaper claims that “Turkish-Europe” lobbies in Germany – including Turkish media tycoon Aydın Doğan – are working in partnership in a slander campaign against the AKP government.


One of the more thoughtful interventions in this sad state of affairs came in the short interview given to T24 by Cem Özdemir, the Turkish-origin co-leader of Germany’s Green Party, on May 26. Putting aside his questionable sideburns, Özdemir had some eminently reasonable things to say, but PM Erdoğan still found things to object to. During his typically tub-thumping weekly AKP parliamentary group speech on Tuesday, he slammed Özdemir as a “so-called Turk, a co-head of a political party over there. The words he used before and after our meeting were very ugly. How are you a democrat? … Are you so disturbed by the prime minister of the Turkish Republic going there? You have no right to talk to the prime minister of your country of origin, of which you are a member, in this way. It doesn’t matter where you are an MP, first you will know your place.” You can decide for yourself whether that was a proportional response to Özdemir’s measured words to T24, which I’ve translated below:


How do you assess Prime Minister Erdoğan’s speech in Cologne?

From now on, no matter what he does, unfortunately we’ve come to the point where it can’t really change anything … The Soma mine disaster and his earlier speeches have formed such a bad picture. From now on, Erdoğan won’t easily be able to change this image. He’s also negatively affecting Turkey’s image. In recent years here, there was a positive image. But that has completely collapsed, it has reversed and a negative image of Turkey has been formed. Erdoğan has become a symbol of this negative image.

Isn’t the German public’s reaction to Erdoğan very exaggerated?

Both his supporters and his critics are exaggerating. His supporters completely idolize him, and see him as a completely faultless, flawless person; while a section of his critics are making a big mistake by comparing him to Hitler. The comparison with Vladimir Putin is better because Erdoğan really is transforming Turkey into an authoritarian regime. But the Hitler comparison is very excessive. So, without generalizing, both sides are making mistakes. These exaggerated approaches are having a very negative effect on the perception of Turkey here in Germany.

In Erdoğan’s speech, Angela Merkel was booed in the hall.

This booing of Merkel’s name leaves a very bad impression. It was very ugly, and it will stay in people’s minds. We will be the ones to pay the price for this. It gives the message: You’re living here, you’re eating its bread, your taxes are paid here, your children are going to school here, you’re benefiting from the welfare state. At the same time, you are booing this country’s prime minister and worshipping another country’s prime minister. It brings the question of loyalty back onto the agenda. We have been struggling for 50 years. “We are loyal citizens,” we say. “Trust us, there’s no need to worry.” This is brought down by the image left by those who went to that rally.

Erdoğan actually had a lot of different groups booed in the rally.

The crowd was transformed as if it was living on enemy soil. There is no such partisanship in German politics; they support politicians but they don’t worship. In the end we are just people; all of us will depart this world one day. To worship someone in such a way both amazes and scares people. In addition, those German Turks who were demonstrating against Erdoğan’s visit pumped up fears about whether “Turkey’s internal problems are being brought here.” In the past there was polarisation between Turk and Kurd, right and left; now the worry is spreading about whether the new polarisation is between Erdoğan’s supporters and his opponents.

Erdoğan’s image in Europe was very positive for many years. How is it now after this speech?

He’s destroying his own successes.

As a Turkish-origin politician, what do you say to the German public?

In the past, we used to say things like, “Probably he meant to say this; if he knew the details he would have spoken differently.” But we’ve gone beyond that, there’s nothing we can defend anymore. Even those ministers in Germany who were previously most positive [about Turkey] are now saying, “This is more than enough.” Erdoğan has 100 percent lost Germany.


[Originally posted at Hürriyet Daily News]

3 Responses to “Germany becomes pro-AKP media’s latest bête noire”

  1. Yusuf Kenan Says:

    Dear Friend,

    Whenever some problem happens in Turkey Germany declares their opinions, gives advise to politicions (to see that you can check last 20 years newspapers u can see over 1000 advise or idea from german politicions)
    In Germany over 3 million Turkish people lives ,

    In Germany Turkish people killed by German nasionalist people,

    Non of Turkish media said Merkell go to hell or something like that, Thats why Erdoğan went to Germany and made a speech to Turkish people . Speech was about an hour and he didint say any bad things or didnt gave any bad advise. Also in Turkey we have a Presidential elections soon so he is expecting their votes.

    He fixed Turkish economy and our tecnology better than before,
    Now less people dying by teror,
    Now our education system better than before,
    We already way better than many EU countries (about law economy, human rights)

    You can say complain about journalists are in jail but in Turkey everyone can take a journalist ID easily,

    If a journalist hurts someone by gun,
    If a journalist joins to a terorist group,
    If a journalist beats to his wife,
    If a journalist stals to secret goverment document,

    Even a terorist group takes a journalist ID for their militans (as a unknown local magazin or newspaper writer )

    Under those conditions what should we do to those journalist people?

    I am a Turkish person I would like to asked Why people and some media complaining about our Primeminister?

    I am not working for government or any govermental organisation I am a abroad education consultant. I ve been over 16 countries and 8 years lived out ot Turkey

  2. curious Says:

    Is “you have no right; know your place” the Great Democratiser’s favorit phrase

  3. Turan Says:

    How and why was Erdogan allowed to stage a rally in the heart of Europe? It beggars belief! You wouldn’t permit a Russian leader to stage a rally anywhere within an EU State, so why Erdogan? ….especially straight after a massive blow to his party following the mine disaster.

    With this rally, Germany has literally helped Erdogan get back on his feet. The German media attacked the trip for sure, but to what avail? We see the west expressing it’s concerns, but there is no genuine criticism. A negative image of Erdogan has formed in the west but there is no genuine anger and unease from the west.

    Turkey has an authoritarian leader violating the human rights of his own people, and we read the headlines and we hear the criticism from Europe for sure, but meanwhile in Turkey his TV channels are glorifying him with the material from a packed out stadium rally within the heart of Europe. We are shown protests, they are shown a world leader loved and respected by millions. I’m not saying boycott Erdogan or take stronger measures. I’m saying don’t help him back up on his feet. Germany are not that stupid to not know that this rally would result in his favour. The AKP now have more than enough material to use as propaganda for many months to come. – “Our brave leader stood up to the powers of Europe from within the very heart of it’s soul!” they say.

    Instead of just looking at the shenanigans evolving in Turkey day by day, I’m trying to look for a bigger picture. Is there a master plan in motion? If so, what is this plan? I wouldn’t say there’s a “dirty alliance’ to bring Erdogan down; on the contrary I’m thinking in the lines of shadow forces at work that would like the Turkish presidency to go to Erdogan. (This Cologne rally makes sense if you look at it from this perspective.) Western forces encouraging and backing a delusional looney leader for there own personal gains; whatever this may be. There has to be some financial gain for sure, and the plan has to be a win win situation. Erdogan sticks to the plan (whatever this may be) and the ’shadows’ win. If Erdogan changes sides, a threat from within and a rush of power to his head, resulting in devastating attacks on his own people (I’m sure Erdogan’s character has been profiled and they all know what he is capable of).

    The latter can then be used as a excuse to move into Turkey to liberate its people from a ruthless dictator, just like Iraq & Saddam and many other leaders opting to change sides.

    A win-win situation.

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