The anti-government protests have split Britain’s Turkish community into six distinct groups
Olay Gazetesi Editörü Nesin Fehmi’nin 4 Haziran 2013 yılında BBC’nin internet sitesinde de paylaşılan görüşleri.
Nesin Fehmi, editor-in-chief of Olay Gazete, a Turkish-language newspaper based in London, says, in his view, the anti-government protests have split Britain’s Turkish community into six distinct groups.
There are those who support Mr Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) – “They don’t say anything – silence means support for what AKP is doing,” he says.
The second group supports the prime minister because “they don’t care about politics or religion, they support the government because they have built a successful economy”.
Then there are the supporters of the opposition: “I would call them partisan. They are not looking at things independently. Whatever Erdogan is doing is wrong.”
The fourth group, in Mr Fehmi’s view, are supporters of the Kurdish movement in Turkey – they are Turkish citizens but their nationality is Kurdish. “They don’t support the AKP party because they are too strong and there is fighting going on between the government and Kurds about various issues, such as to have their language taught more in schools,” he says.
Historically, the Kurds have complained that the Turkish government is trying to destroy their identity and that they suffer from economic disadvantage and human rights violations.
The Alevis, a religious minority in Turkey, also oppose the government.
Finally, the sixth group – of which Mr Fehmi says he is a part – feels freedom of speech and liberty are being threatened by AKP.
He says that in total he believes that about a third of Britain’s Turkish community are supporters of AKP.
Events in Turkey are dominating the coverage in Mr Fehmi’s newspaper, which is read by up to 200,000 people in London, and there are daily discussions about the protests.
“In coffee shops and in public places people I hear people arguing fiercely with each other – each one putting forward their own opinion and each one not agreeing with the other,” says Mr Fehmi, who has lived in Britain since 1967 and describes himself as a British-Turkish-Cypriot.
“It’s worrying in a way; we just don’t know what is going to happen in the future.”
But Mr Fehmi says he believes it is an “important moment” in the history of democracy for Turkey, which became a republic in 1923 after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
“This is like an explosion and there will be explosions in democracies, and there will be arguments and conflicts,” he says.
An estimated 500,000 people of Turkish origin live in the UK, the latest Home Office figures suggest.
The community is made up of about 300,000 Turkish Cypriots, 150,000 Turkish nationals and smaller groups of Turks with citizenship in other countries, such as Bulgaria or Romania, the 2011 data suggests.
Much of the Turkish population is concentrated in north London, for example Haringey, Stoke Newington and Hackney.