Anti-Turkey Sentiment in Europe during the Referendum Process


Insight Turkey Volume 19 No. 2, 2017

Recently, the relationships between Turkey and the European Union (EU), and Turkey and some of the European countries have been affected by a number of serious problems. Some developments before and immediately after the April 16, 2017 referendum in Turkey amplified these problems even more. While some European countries’ attitudes, which implied direct interference in Turkish internal affairs, caused major dismay in Ankara, Turkey’s harsh reactions extended the adversity in Europe against the AK Party and Erdoğan. Some circles in Europe that oppose the constitutional change in Turkey took a stance to prevent this change from taking place, and interfered with the ruling party politicians’ propaganda activities for Turkish constituents living in European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands.

In terms of the general principles of international law and intergovernmental relationships, this level of interference in the internal affairs of an independent country, along with explicit objection to the reforms that the independent country aims to realize in its administration, and hindering access to constituents living abroad point to a clear violation. In this case, it is necessary to grasp why some countries of the European Union take this interventionist stance and seek to prevent Turkish politicians from meeting the voters who live abroad for “Yes” campaigns, while openly supporting the “No” campaign themselves. The reasons why Turkey reacted critically to the EU, and the serious damage to the Ankara-Brussels relationships in the aftermath of this reaction are closely related to the negative stance taken by some European circles during the referendum.

[Read full text]