Which country do the Turks admire most?

emigrationYoung Turks want to go to Uruguay

Everyday life is back in the Kadiköy district of Istanbul. The election campaign booths that the parties traditionally set up here on the banks of the Bosphorus have disappeared and a worker on a ladder is taking down the last portraits of opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu at a crossroads. But no matter how indifferent the passers-by hurry past him - especially here, in the secular, Erdogan-critical Kadiköy, most of them have not yet overcome the shock of November 1st.

Several young men are sitting together in a bar with a bottle of raki. The reason for their meeting is on a picture book in which one of them is leafing enthusiastically: "Uruguay". Berk, in her mid-thirties, explains:

"Some time ago I listened to a Turk who lived in Uruguay on the radio. He said how beautiful life is there. Since the elections, my wife and I have been seriously considering emigrating and since then I have never got it out of my head."

Berk and his wife are no longer alone with their dream on the Bosporus. "28 reasons for moving to Uruguay" is the name of a Turkish website that has meanwhile been shared more than 90,000 times on Facebook and, in addition to freedom of the press and the like, praises the country's happy anthem.

Young, well-educated Turks in particular want to emigrate

Pepe Mujica, until recently president of Uruguay, is an idol for many Erdogan critics. Because while the Turkish head of state had a palace with 1,000 rooms built especially for him, Mujica lived in the country in all simplicity during his presidency. Erdogan's company car is a Mercedes costing around 300,000 euros, and Mujica, who has become known as the "poorest president in the world", was given a VW Beetle. Hakan, one of the many frustrated Gezi demonstrators in summer 2013, was also infected by the general Uruguay fever:

"While we are under increasing pressure on everything and everyone, there is pure freedom. Even marijuana is permitted. In our country they would even like to ban alcohol. And a country whose president lives in a farmhouse? That sounds like a fairy tale in Turkey! "

No wonder, then, that the Uruguayan consulate in Istanbul can hardly save oneself from Turks willing to emigrate, as the Turkish newspaper Evrensel recently wrote. Agencies that generally specialize in work and residence permits for Turks abroad are also reporting a significant increase in customers. A recent study by the OSCE shows that young, well-educated Turks in particular want to leave their homeland more and more often. 35-year-old Berk fits exactly into her scheme.

"Why do we want to leave? Because we're worried about the future, because we reject the regime, because we don't know whether we want to raise our children here and because we've had enough of the constant tension here. These elections still have all of that once significantly reinforced. "

No more hope of change

Only a few hours after the surprisingly clear AKP victory had been confirmed, the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had emphasized that the time for reconciliation had now come. The pigeonhole thinking and hatred within society should come to an end. But critics like Berk have little hope that the government is serious about it. The day after the election, the police again took action against supporters of the disreputable Gülen movement. The editors-in-chief of Nokta magazine have been on trial since Tuesday for calling the election result "the beginning of the civil war". The charge is an attempted coup. Berk, himself a journalist, shrugs his shoulders:

"Even if I don't yet know whether it will really be Uruguay in the end. It is clear that we want to emigrate. Until recently, we were hoping for a big change. But to know that everything will go on for at least four years and maybe even worse, leaves us with no choice but to look for ways to get out of this country. "