Two weeks ago, in a monumental victory for liberalism and democracy, the German Bundestag approved wide-ranging reforms to our citizenship laws. The upshot is that it is now vastly easier to obtain a German passport. You need only three to five years of legal residence and you no longer have to renounce your prior nationality. What makes these reforms so especially humanitarian and democratic is that they were passed in particular to
secure more immigrant votes for Leftist parties express our gratitude for that generation of guest workers who came to Germany from Turkey beginning in the 1950s, many of whom have avoided naturalisation because they wish to retain Turkish citizenship. The Turkish Community in Germany expects 50,000 Turks to apply for citizenship this year and every year thereafter. At a minimum, therefore, German democracy can expect to increase by 50,000 democratic units annually, until all 1.5 million non-German Turks have been naturalised.
Never have we been so democratic, and never have we faced such dire anti-democratic threats. You could be forgiven for concluding that our democracy is a mysterious and mercurial god, who thrived best when we paid him the least attention, and who seems increasingly liable to withdraw his favours now that we will never leave him alone. Thus we find ourselves debating seriously whether to prohibit democratically elected parties to defend our august democracy, and our extremely democratic citizenship reforms have likewise yielded their first antidemocratic symptoms.
Highly inconvenient for our citizenship liberalisation is the fact that the vast majority of politically interested Turks living in Europe support what our democratic minders tell us is the “Right-wing populist” AK Party of the “authoritarian” Turkish president Recep Erdoğan. In the elections last May, over 65% of the German Turkish vote fell in favour of Erdoğan and his programme of “totalitarianism” and “despotism”. Our press was beside itself. “Why do Turkish voters, especially in European countries where they enjoy democracy and freedom of opinion, vote for the autocratic Erdoğan?” they asked. The earnest naïveté is so intense, I fear it will burn a hole through my computer screen.
Now that many of these Turks are suddenly eligible for German citizenship and will be voting in ever greater numbers in German elections, the feared AK Party is planning to establish an offshoot right here in the Federal Republic. It will be called the Democratic Alliance for Diversity and Awakening (DAVA), and it hopes to field candidates for the EU elections in June. In this way, Turkey may achieve proxy representation in the EU parliament, even though Turkey is not in the EU!