Turkey's AKP urging Turkish-Germans away from voting for main parties in Germany's upcoming election
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is looking to sway Turkish-German voters away from its perceived enemies in Germany and towards a small friendly party that lacks meaningful support.
Germany’s mainstream political parties are made up of politicians that the AKP and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan view as foes, wrote Deutsche Welle editor Ellmas Topcu in an opinion piece on Sunday.
Germany’s two largest parties Christian Democrats and Social Democrats are not seen as electable to their camp because of their perceived support for the Turkish opposition or anti-Muslim positions. The other contenders like Die Linke, the Greens and Free Democrats have each staked out positions that are regarded as anathema to Erdogan. Topcu describes this wide rejection of Germany’s biggest parties as effectively a “boycott.”
"Basically, the advice is that none of these parties can be voted for, which sounds almost like a call for an election boycott," wrote Topcu.
Erdogan’s active involvement in this year’s Germany election has been muted compared to the last one in 2017. Then the Turkish leader called on Turkish-German voters to withhold their ballot for Germany’s leading parties and cast them instead for parties without stated "anti-Turkish policies."
This time around, Turkey appears to brushing off that playbook but without the same vocal fervour from 2017. Instead, Topcu said it appears to favour galvanizing Turkish-Germans to vote for a little known party called Team Todenhöfer - The Justice Party that is led by the 80 year old former CDU politician Jürgen Todenhöfer.
Topcu said that Todenhöfer has portrayed himself as "a person who understands Islam" and another micro-party called the Alliance for Innovation and Justice (BIG), a pro-Turkey party, has advocated for its supporters to embrace his candidacy.
Turkish state outlet TRT’s German branch has similarly embraced Todenhöfer and provides him with positive coverage. However, Topcu explains that the bid has no “realistic chance” at winning an election, but it is Ankara’s hope that it can take away votes from “enemies of Turkey” like the Greens or Die Linke.