Turkey after Erdogan’s victory

Fears of a new wave of repression and persecution

On day after the reelection of Turkey’s ruler Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) expressed fears of a new wave of repression, persecution, and violence against the democracy movement and all other dissenters in the country. Further, Erdogan and the nationalists and Sunni-Islamist forces – who gained influence during the pre-election phase – could step up the war against the Kurdish people and other minorities in Tukey and abroad. 

An indication for this is the rhetoric Erdogan used to attract voters – which he continued immediately after the election results were published. “In a video, Erdogan stated that he would never release his political rival Selahattin Demirtas. At the same time, the nationalist-Islamist mob is calling for the death penalty for the detained Kurd,” stated Dr. Kamal Sido, the STP’s Middle East Consultant, in Göttingen on Tuesday.

Turkey’s unabated attacks against the Kurdish people of Syria and Iraq show that Erdogan is serious about his threats. According to reports, Syrian Islamists in the Turkish-occupied Kurdish region of Afrin in Syria celebrated Erdogan’s victory in the night from Sunday to Monday, harassing the Kurdish population. Many Kurds are said to have been arrested. Apparently, Turkey also carried out a drone attack on the village of Khansor in the Yazidi settlement area of Sinjar in the north-west of Iraq.

According to Sido’s observations, the elections in Turkey – and especially in Kurdistan, in the east and the south-east of Turkey – were neither fair nor free. There, the Turkish state acts as an occupying power, with a strong presence of armed forces, security and police forces, and mercenary militias. In the run-up to the elections, the pro-Kurdish HDP party had been forced to run via another list. The Alevi opposition candidate was repeatedly accused of being an infidel. “This religious hate speech rhetoric will have far-reaching consequences, especially for the Alevi minority, the Christians, the Yazidis, and the Jews in Turkey,” Sido fears. “Further, we could see an increase in violence against women.” Also, it will certainly not be easy for LGBTIQ individuals in this politically poisoned environment.

Sido regrets that official NATO and EU observers are speaking of free elections in Turkey. Here, the impression arises that double standards are being applied: If states are in conflict with NATO or the EU, elections are immediately called “stolen” or “manipulated” – in connection with threats of diplomatic, political, or economic sanctions. However, the German chancellor immediately congratulated the Turkish autocrat on winning the elections. This is short-sighed and implausible.

“Scholz and other western politicians should at least demand Erdogan to implement the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and to release the political prisoners Demirtas and Osman Kavala. “This is a shame! Apparently, however, foreign policy is mainly about state interests – not about democracy and human rights,” Sido criticized.