Turkish referendum campaign spills onto the streets of Germany

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With the arrival of Spring; Turkey, Iran and Central Asia mark their New Year. In Germany, Frankfurt approved a parade to celebrate the festivities. But, Turkey claims it allowed a gathering of Kurdish-rebel sympathizers.

Some venues in Germany have banned Turkey from events promoting next month’s referendum on presidential power. It’s part of the continuing confrontation between the EU and Turkey.

CGTN’s Guy Henderson discussed the issue with members of the Turkish expatriot community in Frankfurt, Germany.

Few are forthcoming about whether or not they support Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s proposals. Some members of the Turkish expatriot community in Frankfurt express concern that the fallout between Germany and Turkey is trickling down to street level – causing divisions amongst this country’s significant Turkish population; as well as hampering integration efforts.

 

Turkish referendum campaign spills onto the streets of Germany

Turkish referendum campaign spills onto the streets of Germany

Some venues in Germany have banned Turkey from events promoting next month's referendum on presidential power. The campaign to win nearly 1.4 million Turkish votes is testing Germany’s largest immigrant community.
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“The recent debate has a huge effect to us – yesterday someone came and shouted at us,” a Turkish market-stall owner said. “We’re not responsible for politics – we live here, we work here, we pay taxes, we are more German than Turkish.”

For others, it’s less clear-cut.

“We as a family had different opinions on the referendum, but with recent developments in Europe and the fact that we Turks are still not fully accepted in Germany changed my view – for me it is not about Erdogan — it is about Turkey,” Turkish expatriot Sukran Civelek said.

The editor of one Kurdish newspaper is worried his neighbors will face pressures to take sides.

“My fear is that we will be divided in future – at the moment there’s no division between Kurds and Turks in Germany – we live together in the same neighborhood,” Cemal Turan said.  

There are some 1.4 million Turkish votes up for grabs in Germany – more than in any other European country.  The campaign to win them is testing this country’s largest immigrant community – at an already sensitive time.