The Turkey bans every “Hayir”, No in Turkish, from the public to promote a Yes for the upcoming referendum to change the constitution which would lead to autocracy – bundling all national power on the current president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“If you say No… you will get back your life.” This slogan of an anti-smoke campaign was one of the first victims to be stopped because Erdogan’s government feared, it could be interpreted as a political statement. Another example is the channel Digitürk taking off the movie “No” about a failed referendum in Chile off his program.
It is obvious that Erdogan is getting more and more nervous about his referendum on April 16th on his financial and organizational superiority. There is a reason: In January, a survey showed that 58% of Turkeys would vote “no” as they disapprove Erdogan. 45% of the “Yes”-Sayers would vote for the autocracy because they trust in Erdogan. So, in the end, this election is not only going to be one about the referendum, but about Erdogan himself.
Being aware of this, he also wants to mobilise all Turkeys living abroad, especially the millions living in Europe. Therefore, he sent some of his ministers here to publicly promote his referendum. But this referendum is run so hysterically by now that many European countries are afraid of difficulties in holding the security stable. For this reason, the Netherlands prohibited the Turkey foreign minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu to land his plane in the country. Turkey’s inappropriate reaction was to try to smuggle their minister for family affairs via car into the Netherlands. She was stopped as unwelcomed person and sent back. This resulted in Erdogan calling the Netherlands to be Nazi-descendant which deserve to be sanctioned. This was not the first time the Turkish government used Nazi comparisons for European countries – its NATO-partners. After some German cities rejected requests for appearances of Turkish campaign members because of administrative failures (e.g. booking rooms lacking fire safety), Erdogan reproached Germany to use Nazi practices and Turkish media showed German chancellor Angela Merkel in a Nazi uniform. This displaced and for the victims of the Nazi-regime absolutely disrespectful statement astonishingly raised support for Erdogan among the Turkeys living in Germany in the context of freedom of speech. But what are the habits of the freedom of speech if it is abused to promote the end of a Democracy?
Article written by Sandra Manthey (ENU, 9th generation)