Anyone who wanted to find out more about the situation in Turkey in the past few weeks was presented with the image of a sick, old dictator clinging to power. The incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was seen on television as a pale man with sunken cheeks, and there was extensive speculation about a gastrointestinal disease. When he did not appear in person when a bridge was commissioned, as announced, but only connected via video, this was taken as an indication of a serious illness.
Will he survive the election campaign? Is the 69-year-old still physically fit to create another legislative period, the question was asked by commentators in most German online and print media. There were also reports of Erdoğan’s rigid treatment of the Kurds and his barely concealed contempt for minorities such as the LGBT community. And of course it was about the Turkish economy, whose worst problem is rampant inflation.
And then the sick old man wins the election
The state-financed Federal Agency for Civic Education summarized the official German position on the elections in Turkey as follows: “Not only parties and individuals are up for voting, but the citizens will decide whether Turkey will remain an autocratic presidential system or whether it will be of a parliamentary democracy.”
And then this happens: The sick old man wins the election. Apparently quite spontaneously, cheering supporters gather in motorcades. Among other things, Erdoğan gets a whopping majority among the Turks living in Germany, which prompts Cem Özdemir, the Minister of Agriculture from Stuttgart with Turkish roots, to make the nebulous announcement on Twitter: “We will have to talk about it.”
Every Trump scandal was headline-worthy
The fact is, a political alpha has narrowly won an election. In the last few days before the decisive vote, his challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu sensed the impending defeat and even struck out nationalist tones. He will send all refugees home, is his announcement in the event that he is elected – which does not quite fit into the political picture of good and evil that the Federal Agency, for example, had drawn. However, nothing helped, the opposition leader in Turkey remains in the opposition and the majority of observers in Germany have to admit that they once again confused wishful thinking with reality.
Unfortunately, that happens all too often. The scheme applies wherever these not at all neutral observers look. For example, with a view to the USA: Every alleged or actual Trump scandal is worth a headline. The astonishment is all the greater that this man is the most promising Republican candidate for the next US election campaign, as the world’s most respected “Economist” stated last week.
Praise from Italy’s leading Soci for right-wing conservative Meloni
Or looking at Italy: Georgia Meloni, head of the right-wing conservative Brothers of Italy party, has been prime minister in Rome for almost six months. During this time she had shown herself to be a “capable person”, a fascist as suspected she was not. Who says that? Ironically Stefano Bonaccini, leading figure of the opposition Social Democrats.
This weekend, when elections were held in Turkey, Meloni also had to win a vote that hardly anyone in this country reported: Her party Fratelli d’Italia clinched a triumph in the municipal elections. It has won five out of seven provincial capitals. In Ancona she scored a historic victory. After 30 years of center-left government, the port city on the Adriatic falls back into conservative hands.
The new figurehead of the left, Elly Schlein, who with her reading of feminism is diametrically opposed to the winner Meloni, was slapped down. The story that fascism returned to Italy a hundred years after Mussolini seized power in the form of a blonde woman is increasingly turning out to be an invention of the German media.
What must not be, cannot be?
What must not be, that cannot be, is the deeply undemocratic credo of those observers who draw these crooked pictures. If things turn out completely differently, the first sentence of these slate artists after the decision is: The country is deeply divided. These commentators are indifferent to the fact that only in socialist republics can election results be achieved that do not indicate a division. For them, attitude over reporting. Their job description is completely different, regardless of whether they are politicians or journalists. It is simply: “Say what is.”