Nieuws - 29 oktober 2015

Meanwhile in...Turkey

Lieke de Kwant

In the news: Turkey is going to the polls again on 1 November. President Erdogan’s AK party was unable to form a coalition and now hopes to regain the absolute majority it had before the elections in June. Tension is mounting.

Commentary by Eyup Oztutuncu, Master’s student of Plant Biotechnology

‘In the last elections the AK party lost some of its power to the pro-Kurdish party HDP, to Erdogan’s great annoyance. That led to provocations by Erdogan and to bomb attacks by the terrorist Kurdish party PKK.

The refugee crisis is influencing the coming election. The majority of the Turks see the Syrian refugees as people we should help. They are fleeing war and beheadings. Sending them back is not an option. At the moment there are two million refugees in our country. We share the same religion but we have a different language and culture. That causes problems. Look at Europe – there the reception of 40,000 people divided over 28 member states was enough to cause chaos.

Some of the refugees are travelling on to the EU. Turkey is not doing anything to prevent that; it’s not our business. And yet our country is now taking a lot of refugees from the EU. We are getting money for that, which we can invest in education and accommodation for refugees. We don’t have much choice either, because negotiations for admission to the EU are under way. Add to that the economic stagnation of recent years and the tensions in neighbouring countries and you have tense elections.

There was a lot of fuss in the Netherlands because Turks living here got a letter from the AK party urging them to vote for the party. I don’t see the problem there. Surely every party has the right to canvass? An absolute majority for Erdogan would be disastrous. It reeks of autocracy and that is never a good thing. I don’t think it will happen. Erdogan will probably have to share power and things will calm down after the elections.