Can Dündar about the Turkey election

17 May 2023. There was a certain disappointment in Can Dündar’s and his wife Dilek’s face, when the first predictions of the Turkish election were published last Sunday: No landslide victory for Erdoğan’s challenger Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, no immediate removal of Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdoğan from office. If the opposition had won, Dündar and his wife would have returned to Turkey immediately. Now they have to stay here indefinitely.
It’s not that they don’t like it here, they tell us on election day in the garden of the Maxim Gorki Theatre, from where Dündar commented live on the election. But they miss their home, their families, their house (confiscated by the AKP), and both of them has seen their old and sick parents for years.
A large part of this result is due to the fact that two-thirds of the 1.5 million Turks eligible to vote in Germany once again voted for the increasingly autocratic Erdoğan without even living in Turkey, says Dündar: “I have been observing and trying to understand this for 20 years.”

Recently, a documentary by him, “Erdoğan’s Terror List“, was broadcasted on ZDF (in the ZDF media library and on YouTube in German with Turkish subtitles). In it he says: “Germany is the most dangerous country in the world for someone like me. And Berlin is one of the most dangerous places. The Turkish secret service is very active here. There are many people here who are being fed with hate by Erdogan. Unfortunately, the German government has allowed him to do this for decades. That’s why the polarisation in Turkey is directly reflected in Germany.”
A glimmer of hope remains for the second round on 28 May – for the fact that Erdogan’s party lost seven per cent in the first round, while Kılıçdaroğlu won 45 per cent, shows that Turkey has not yet completely capitulated to autocracy. “With half of society against him, with the state coffers empty and with the fatigue of 21 years, the question is how long Erdoğan can stay in power,” Dündar said.
Dündar, who was sentenced to almost 19 years in prison in Turkey for alleged espionage, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt, managed to flee in 2016 and has since been living in exile in Germany under police protection, has been running the German-Turkish news platform “Özgürüz” (We are free) since 2017. At the end of last year, the Turkish government put him on the so-called grey list of most wanted terrorists and put a bounty of up to 500,000 Turkish liras (25,000 euros) on his head.
He has a column in DIE ZEIT, writes books, makes documentaries and is a regular guest at M100.