Prague, April 24 (CTK) – The Czech Republic is a stronghold of liberal Turks whose number is surging here, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes today, stressing that only very few of them voted for the proposal to increase the powers of the authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turks living abroad largely contributed to Erdogan’s narrow victory with 51.4 percent of the vote, LN writes.
In France and Germany, he gained two-thirds, in Belgium as many as three-quarters of votes from them, it adds.
On the other hand, Czech Turks showed that they are liberal voters. Out of those who came to the polling stations at the embassy of Turkey in Prague, only each eighth cast the ballot paper for Erdogan, LN writes.
The liberal orientation of the Turks living in the Czech Republic is mainly due to demographic and economic reasons, it adds.
The crushing majority of the more than 2,000 Turks here are made up of young, university-educated people from large towns, LN writes.
This is the social group with the biggest number of Erdogan’s opponents, it adds.
“The Czech Republic has not experienced the immigrant wave of rural population from the Turkish country as, e.g., Germany,” Martina Alamca, a musician with Turkish roots, is quoted as saying.
“In the Czech Republic, there are not poorly educated immigrants from Anatolia, from the socially lowest, conservative strata or their descendants as in Germany,” Czech political analyst Petr Kucera is quoted as saying.
“These are mostly younger people with higher education who have good jobs, proclaim secular values, often live in mixed marriages and do not feel marginalised in society,” Kucera said.
One half of Czech Turks live in Prague that offers good jobs in international companies, LN writes.
Besides, religion and ethnicity also play an important role.
Hundreds of followers of preacher Fethullah Gulen live in the Czech Republic. Erdogan says Gulen was the architect of the abortive coup from last year, denoting him as an enemy of the state.
Czech followers of Gulen are associated in the international school Meridian in Prague, LN writes.
Erdogan is also opposed by Kurds. Their roots in Prague go back to the 1960s. At that time, hundreds of foreign students from the “friendly” socialist countries of the Arab world, Syria and Iraq in particular, but also from Turkey graduated from Czechoslovak universities, it adds.
However, the biggest group of Czech Turks is constituted by neither proponents nor opponents of Erdogan. Out of the 1,100 Czech Turks with the right to vote, only one-half came to the polling stations, LN writes.
The number of Turks living in the Czech Republic surged by almost one-third in a single year, it adds.
The biggest number of them came in the second half of the year, after Erdogan triggered purges and arrests after the failed coup, LN writes.
In fact, the Czech Republic has confirmed its standing as a stronghold of liberal Turks and an EU member that is increasingly popular with the young population of Turkey, it adds.