Why our relatives in Germany said ‘yes’ to Dictatorship?
The question ‘why’ was often asked after the referendum. Already before, the comparison between free ranging hens, who want cages for other hens, was drawn.
I am not claiming to have a particularly original answers, but I nonetheless believe that I can shed some light on the issue.
The free ranging hens do not see how oppressive life in Turkey under the sultan has become in the last five years – quite the opposite. Turks in Germany typically visit Turkey once to a couple of times a year. That means that they do not experience the daily life directly. They probably have only a few friends who live in Turkey and are affected. Especially young Turkish men and women, who live a liberal lifestyle in Germany, listen to hip hop and smoke pot, do not know people with the same habitus in Turkey. Therefore, they do not know anybody personally who sits in prison, lost their income or even their lives. Such a person, the majority does not know. That makes Erdogan’s rhetorics of treason easy. It enables a relatively unpolitical view onto the “homeland”. The personal link to the oppression is missing. The talk of oppression is restricted to the narratives, which the ‘homeland’s’ media loudly declares to be lies by terrorist and enemies of the state.
If you only come once a year, the changes in Turkey (infrastructure and so on) look like miracles. You get used to iPads as menus and drones in Germany, whereas seeing the same developments in Turkey looks like unbelievable progress for the visitor. Maybe one does not want to see that Turkey has only developed as everywhere else in the world. In fact, the economic development has only been average for a long while. No, Erdogan does not have huge successes in this area.
The view of Erdogan’s glorious doings is facilitated by the fact that many Turks in Germany are badly integrated. Whoever feels as a second class human for a long time, has strong inclinations to identify with something bigger as soon as possible. And here comes Erdogan’s narrative of a tremendous Turkey, which does not have to be ashamed, but stands up against powerful nations.
You add ghettoisation and the failure of education politics, which missed to teach independent thinking to the population broadly and now you have a dangerous cocktail: free ranging hens who feel oppressed and idealize the cage. Erdogan is a true propaganda genius and the majority is all too susceptible to his message of salvation (while we puke, cry, die).
Interestingly the only time I saw eggs from cage hens in Germany lately was in a Turkish store.