Cologne - Reportage

Germany- "My feelings between the 20 000 turkish demonstrators"

Michael Wagener - 1 august 2016
"Everything was friendly during the day, but when I took a closer look, I saw disturbing things..."

Photos © Michael Wagener- Cologne

When I was a child,  I spend most of the time by my grandmother and her turkish neighborhood. Fatma tooks also care of me like my grandma and I played together with her kids. I remember the smell of the tea and to sit outside,next to the main street, surrounded by a turkish family. I also liked the turkish culture, when I traveled once to Istanbul. I saw this beautiful city at the bosporus, the amazing mosques and the crowed bazaars. Was impressed by the museum of modern art and enjoyed the hamam. And every time, when I was in a muslim country, I was suprised about the friendliness of the people. Disturbing after the bullshit Hollywood would like to tell me since 9/11.

"They invite me to take pictures"

Today I found myself in between  20.000 turkish people on a Pro-Erdogan demonstration in Cologne, Germany. After the coup against Erdogan two weeks before, the turkish community wants to show her believe in his leader. I am not really in politics. I have only a cursory knowledge about the things, which are going on in turkey. But it was a strange feeling to see thousands of people , waving turkish flags and screaming for Erdogan in my home country. During the day I met a lot of turkish people, who saw my camera and told me to write the truth. They said , that western media never tell the truth and everything would be a propaganda against the people of turkey. They invite me to take pictures and they showed me the proud to be a Turk. And of course, I had a lot of nice meetings during the demonstration and a lot of laughs. But although it was a friendly demonstration protected by the german police, to see so many people screaming for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan felt my heart with fear.  I tried to listen to the speechs of several representatives of Turkey, but I heard only a few german sentence. Against the media in germany and for the legality of Erdogans goverment and his doings. But I mist the reasons. Nobody could explain to me , why. To many speeches were in turkish. I could not understand. For a better life together: why there was no translation?

Some people said, that Erdogan is a role model for human rights. So I thought by myself, if that is the truth, what about the press freedom in Turkey??

Everything was friendly during the day, but when I took a closer look, I saw disturbing things. A poster: Erdogan as world leader. Or a man who was wearing a military uniform from the first world war. A father presented me his little boy, looking like a soldier. And to hear a crowd screaming „allahu akbar“....  I am sorry, my turkish friends, but I am not Pro Erdogan. There is still the other opinion of a lot of turkish people, who are not happy , who see the problems in the Turkey and who really hate this leadership, but also in germany they are afraid to say this and to stand behind this opinion.  Sorry to say this, but the ocean of flags I saw today, waving flags for one man, gives me a bad feeling. Everything reminds me to pictures from the past and I can only do the same conclusion like my turkish neighbor now in cologne, there was once a thing also in germany...

Michael Wagener for


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