‘Erdogan’s Turkey has no place in Europe’

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan was voted in as President on Monday, prompting Germany to ponder whether Turkey was or would ever be European enough for the EU. The Local's media round up looks at the reaction.

'Erdogan's Turkey has no place in Europe'
Photo: DPA

Turkish Prime Minister Reccep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed victory as his country's first popularly elected president on Monday. Erdogan thanked supporters of his Justice and Development (AK) party in Ankara, while promising the "start of a new era" for Turkey.

He has promised Turkey a new constitution that would include granting the presidential office executive powers. The election of the traditionally conservative Islamic party leader to top office has caused some concern among German political leaders.

"Erdogan's Turkey has no place in Europe," Andreas Scheuer of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), told the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung on Tuesday. Scheuer called for the end of negotiations for Turkey to enter into the European Union.

Other parties are backing the CSU's call for a stop to the talks. Green party chairman Cem Özdemir told Nordwest Zeitung that an Erdogan-ruled Turkey is an "increasingly authoritarian state", adding that given current instabilities in Iraq and Syria as well as the conflict in Israel and Palestine, a stable Turkey is key to European safety.

The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, Elmar Brock (CDU) told Die Welt daily paper that Erdogan's transformation of Turkey into an autocratic state would damage the foundation of the EU entrance negotiations.

Germany's newspapers echoed the sentiments of its political parties.

"The path to an authoritarian government is paved," claimed the popular daily Bild in its coverage of Edrogan's election.

In an article entitled "What Germans need to know about Erdogan", the paper wrote:

"It's not easy to explain to a German why 20 million Turkish people voted in a president caught in the middle of a multi-million Euro corruption scandal. To understand, one has to be Turkish."

The left-leaning Tageszeitung said "Victory but not a win," adding that initial polling had the AK Party leader polling much higher than the results showed on Sunday night. Reports also lauded the unexpected success of the People's Democratic Party (HDP) candidate Selahattin Demirtas, who took 10 percent of the popular vote.

"The one-man show, feared by many and unwanted by few, is far from perfect. Although Erdogan exhausted his powers of acting Prime Minister to engineer a grotesquely unfair election campaign through his control or intimidation of local television coverage so that coverage of opposing candidates was barely seen, the outcome of this election compared to the 2011 parliamentarian election hardly changed."

Tagesschau reporter Reinhard Baumgarten said: "Turkey under President Erdogan may become more Islamic, more like the Ottoman empire, and more oriental. He aspires to a presidential system … modelled after Russia under Vladimir Putin."

The Sueddeutsche daily says the victory isn't enough for the polarizing President elect. Instead of creating a "checks and balances" office like that of the US, a presidency under Erdogan will forego a two-chamber parliament in Ankara.

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Ex-chancellor Schröder sues German Bundestag for removing perks

Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has sued the German parliament for removing some of his official post-retirement perks over his links to Russian energy giants, his lawyer said Friday.

Ex-chancellor Schröder sues German Bundestag for removing perks

Schröder, 78, has come under heavy criticism for his proximity to Russian President Vladimir Putin and involvement with state-backed energy companies.

The decision to suspend Schröder’s taxpayer-funded office and staff in May was “contrary to the rule of law”, Michael Nagel, told public broadcaster NDR.

Schröder “heard of everything through the media”, Nagel said, noting that the Social Democrat had asked for a hearing before the budget committee responsible but was not given the chance to express himself.

READ ALSO: Germany strips Schröder of official perks over Russia ties

Schröder’s lawyers filed the complaint with an administrative Berlin court, a spokesman for the court confirmed.

In its decision to strip him of the perks, the committee concluded that Schröder, who served as chancellor from 1998 to 2005, “no longer upholds the continuing obligations of his office”.

Most of Schröder’s office staff had already quit before the final ruling was made.

Despite resigning from the board of Russian oil company Rosneft and turning down a post on the supervisory board of gas giant Gazprom in May, Schröder has maintained close ties with the Kremlin.

The former chancellor met Putin in July, after which he said Moscow was ready for a “negotiated solution” to the war in Ukraine — comments branded as “disgusting” by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Last week, the Social Democrats concluded that Schröder would be allowed to remain a member after he was found not have breached party rules over his ties to the Russian President.

Schröder’s stance on the war and solo diplomacy has made him an embarrassment to the SPD, which is also the party of current Chancellor Olaf Scholz.