In July of 2008, Barack Obama, then a candidate for the US Presidency, delivered a campaign style speech in Berlin. Most of his audience were German, but many US nationals living in central Europe enthusiastically attended. Such individuals would of course be eligible to vote in a US election in spite of not living in America.
During his second term in office, Obama again returned to Berlin to speak before a large audience, this time from behind the safety of a bullet proof glass panel.
During the G20 Summit scheduled for the 7th and 8th of July, 2017, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to make a similar speech in Germany. Just as Obama spoke in English, Erdogan too will speak his native language of Turkish.
So far, so similar.
The difference is that while Germany rolled out the carpet for Obama, the German regime and opposition are both set against Erdogan giving a large scale Obama style public speech this summer in Germany.
Why might this be?
Turkey like America is in NATO, Germany is too, so it has nothing to do with that.
Turkey like America is not in the European Union, so it can’t have anything to do with that either. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel stated, “We should tell all non-EU countries – not just Turkey – that we don’t allow campaign appearances that serve to import domestic conflicts from other countries to”. This however is clearly a lie as the United States is not only not in the EU, but unlike Turkey, America has never been a candidate to join the EU.
Germany, Turkey and America all are opposed to the legitimate government of Syria, so it can’t be a policy difference on this either.
Many Turks live in Germany but so do many Americans. Berlin in particular is becoming a go-too destination for American students, businessmen and tourists.
What then is one left with insofar as a possible explanation for the different treatment of Erdogan vis-a-vis Obama?
Erdogan’s own hypothesis of a racially motivated hatred of Turkey and Turks seems to be the likely explanation. German embraced America’s first black President, but it seems they refuse to embrace Turkey’s first post-Ataturk Ottoman style President.
Who said Germans don’t have a sense of humour?