Crisis of European democracy

The crisis of European democracy can be described simply and briefly as follows: Their democracy is functioning in a way that is increasingly breaking Europe away from the values that make it Europe.

Perhaps it would be more appropriate to describe it as the values that “constitute today’s Europe” because the principles that assembled Europe under a single roof are not very democratic, humanistic, universal or human rights-oriented. Moreover, the only issue that united Europe under one roof until the 19th century was the rhetoric of anti-Islam.

Anti-Islam rhetoric reminded Europe of its crusader identity on a religious basis, prompted bigotry around that identity, and this bigotry became the founding identity of Europe. It was never possible for this identity to convey a humane message or project to the world.

Taking elections as the most important channel where democracy is demonstrated these days, it is evident that whenever there is an election in any European country, xenophobia, Islamophobia and isolationism are beginning to score many more points. The Europeans, who have been selling democracy and human rights to the outside world since the Enlightenment, also have a history of atrocities, which have exhausted the world and deprived it of humanity with their colonial experiences.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to acknowledge that Europeans know very well to speak as if they had no baggage, and to behave like the discoverer of universal human values. This self-assurance can be explained with the power they have had until now, but is now declining.

The elections are turning into a troublesome process in which Europeans cannot conceal the racist face that they suppress. The elections that will take place in Germany on Sept. 24 are certainly not the only example of this troublesome process. But almost the most important issue of all the discussions between the parties in these elections is Turkey and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In fact, Germany has a great deal of problems and issues which can be questioned by voters, including discussing which parties can offer a better solution. But the politicians have pushed aside all these troubles and are discussing Turkey and criticizing Erdoğan. Indeed, anyone who looks from the outside would think Erdoğan is a party in the German election, because he is the rival of all candidates and everyone is trying to reply to him.

Erdoğan was almost the main topic of the debate between Social Democrat (SPD) candidate Martin Schulz and Christian Democrat (CDU) Chancellor Angela Merkel that was broadcast on all channels. To what extent does this overlap with Germany's current reality? What can Schulz expect from the fact that what he promises to his people in the name of Europe’s social democracy is a racist, anti-Turkey attitude? Populism is always one of the biggest handicaps of democracies, but the fact that the subject of this populism is racism and that all the rightist and leftist political parties unite against Turkey and demonstrate anti-Islam rhetoric shows that the problem in Europe is much more profound.

The SPD and CDU agree on anti-Islam and anti-Turkey sentiments and compete with each other on these issues, and this attitude is based on the expectation that society fosters a hatred of Islam. But how true is this? Ideological populism can sometimes be based on the misunderstanding of the public’s feelings. Are people more interested in such ideological attitudes while waiting for a solution for their true problems? This problem does not always have the same answer in every society. Indeed, anti-Turkey attitude may have an ideological basis in Germany, but it should not be so ingrained as to make people forget all their issues.

Indeed, the fact that mind-boggling German politicians are so far-fetched from the economy of their country because they are so caught up with this mindset also poses a serious question mark.

Large German companies, acting without any purpose other than making profit, are continuing to operate without being affected by the ideological attitude and political suggestions of their state.

This is one of the points where the crisis of German democracy may break out. The rationality that dominates Germany's business world is becoming increasingly invalid for politicians. The German state is losing time with ideological debates targeting Turkey and Muslims, instead of responding to the expectations of its own business and investment worlds.

They are making Turkey the scapegoat of their own failures and evading their responsibilities. As they do so, their connection with industry, the main driving force between the German and European society, is breaking.

Regardless of how reluctant European politicians are on Turkey’s EU accession, the German business world has already taken Turkey to the EU. More precisely, integration has already taken place between the Turkish and European business worlds. So, it was German business circles that first voided the politicians’ wish to challenge Turkey.

The elections are causing Germany’s fast break away from present European values. The issue is not Turkey anymore.

In any case, an EU project that fails to incorporate Turkey has no meaning other than to announce its own failure to actualize its claims and projects. Indeed, the fact that this integration, which takes place in the economic realm, is hindered by politics shows that politics is far behind the developments.