The official result of the Turkish referendum has been published and the Turkish President has claimed victory. International and other observers, however, say there were serious irregularities. The result is closer than expected and illustrates the divide within Turkish society, not only between those in favour and those against, but also the divide between urban and rural areas.
Can the result of a referendum built on intimidation, provocation and lies be considered the outcome of a democratic process? Certainly not, and our support goes to the CHP and HDP opposition parties as well as all democratic and civil society forces who still dare to take a stand against the autocrat.
We also need to look at what explains the vote of the Turkish diaspora in our western European countries. The majority of them have clearly voted in favour of an undemocratic constitutional change putting all power in the hands of the President, who even described the German and Dutch governments as Nazi regimes. The divide within the diaspora communities is even stronger as suspicion, supervision and alienation have become current trends. This vote certainly illustrates a feeling of unease and exclusion, even though the diaspora can live here under democratic regimes and benefit from protection and civil liberties.
The outlook? Even more prosecution and probably the introduction of the death penalty. Under these circumstances the question of potential EU accession is not even hypothetical, it has become out of reach. In a way retreating behind the "strong man" is a response to an accession process that has not been dealt with as a serious prospect. As far back as 15 years ago politicians like Michel Rocard warned of the kind of developments that have now become a reality.
What can we do? Support those in opposition, the defenders of human rights and civil liberties in Turkey, support the democrats and progressives in the diaspora and work for better integration policies that give a real sense of belonging to our societies, to countries with the rule of law and democratic institutions.