Dutch-Turkish want more protection from Erdogan loyalists
A large part of the Dutch-Turkish community (43 percent) wants the Dutch government to protect them better against unwanted interference and intimidation from Turkey, according to a study by the Clingindeal Institute among 1,000 Dutch-Turkish people in the runup to the Turkish parliamentary and presidential elections next month.
Since President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party, the AKP, came to power in 2002, the Turkish state has been increasingly active in Turkish communities in Europe, according to the newspaper AD. Their votes are important to the AKP. Almost half the Dutch-Turkish people in the Netherlands will vote in the elections on May 14. In the previous election, 63 percent voted - a higher turnout than in Turkey itself.
“A quarter of Dutch people of Turkish origin even feel unsafe because of the Turkish influence in the Netherlands. Erdogan’s policies have certainly become more autocratic after the coup attempt in 2016. Particularly supporters of the Gulen movement, named after Fethullah Gulen, get intimidated,” lead researcher Christopher Houtkamp told AD. “Even in our country.”
The institute did not ask respondents how they feel intimidated, Houtkamp said. “No, we do not know whether there are concrete threats. But it says a lot that a large part of the respondents indicate that the Dutch government should put more effort into measures to limit the influence of the Turkish state on their community,” he said.
“By no means everyone feels represented by the traditional Turkish-Dutch organizations that are often the discussion partner of the government,” Houtkamp said. “That is why it would be good if different groups were approached with the question of to what extent the Dutch government should intervene to curb the harmful side effects of the highly politicized Turkish diaspora policy.”