COLOGNE, Germany (AA): Several Turkish families in northwestern Bruhl town have received anonymous letters this week telling them to leave Germany, according to residents.
The letters come at a time when there is a heated public debate in the country about Turkey’s April 16 constitutional referendum that proposes a transition to a presidential system.
The letters attacked Turkish expats who backed the constitutional changes which were also advocated by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Do yourself and your president a favor, and return to your country,” the letter read, claiming that those who voted in favor of the presidential system in Turkey were not well-integrated into Germany.
Halis Ozdogan, a German citizen of Turkish origin who has been living in the country since 1974, told Anadolu Agency the letter left the families in shock.
“The message to us here is that ‘either you will be like us, or you will leave the county’. This is frightening, this is unacceptable,” he said.
The letter accused Turkish migrants who backed Erdogan and voted for the presidential system of not supposedly respecting democracy and freedoms.
Ozdogan said such prejudices and generalizations about Turkish expats were not true, and was a sign of growing racism.
Germany is home to nearly 3 million Turkish immigrants, and Turkey’s April 16 referendum was widely debated in the country.
On Sunday, more than 50 percent of Turkish citizens voted Yes to a presidential system. In Germany, the Yes campaign had received stronger support.
Among the 700,000 Turkish expats who casted their ballots in election centers across Germany, 63 percent of them voted in favor of a presidential system in Turkey, while 39 percent voted against.
German politicians who backed the No campaign argued that big support for Erdogan and his proposal for a presidential system among the expats was a sign that they were not well-integrated.
Several far-right politicians called on Turks who backed the Yes campaign to leave Europe and return to Turkey.
Turkish community leaders had sharply criticized such calls and warned against growing racism in Germany.