Right extremism in Thuringia: it does not work

The electoral success of the AfD is a personal threat to Medina Yilmaz and other people of immigrant background. She reacts with challenge – and even understanding.

<p type = "text" content = "A hint that they are in Thuringia One day, I could not feel at home, Medina Yilmaz had for the first time a winter day, six years ago. It was after 10 pm, the neighbor of the apartment below her had put the music up. Yilmaz, born in Berlin, wanted to sleep. She called the police to complain. One of the two officials who appeared has kindly accepted their complaint. The other, however, stared at her when her colleague did not look straight at him, silently pronouncing the word "shit …" with her lips. She could only guess the rest. It was only clear that she was personally designated as a woman from immigration. "Data-reactid =" 17 "> Thuringia One day, I could not feel at home, Medina Yilmaz had for the first time a winter day, six years ago. It was after 10 pm, the neighbor of the apartment below her had put the music up. Yilmaz, born in Berlin, wanted to sleep. She called the police to complain. One of the two officials who appeared has kindly accepted their complaint. The other, however, stared at her when her colleague did not look straight at him, silently pronouncing the word "shit …" with her lips. She could only guess the rest. The only thing was clear: she had been personally designated as a woman from immigration.

"That made me understand that if something happened to me, that man would not protect me," Yilmaz said today. At that time, his confidence in the Thuringian police began to weaken. And a little their confidence in the rule of law.

<p type = "text" content = "Medina Yilmaz is a politically active woman, a former employee of a Ministry of Thuringia, a volunteer, a member of the Greens and spent the evening of the election of the State party to his party. ErfurtRobert Habeck had come, Katrin Göring-Eckardt, and the ZDF was there. Yilmaz, however, could only stare at the screen with the result: 23% for the AFD. "From now on," she thought that night, "everything will get worse." "Data-reactid =" 19 "> Medina Yilmaz is a politically active woman, a former employee of a Ministry of Thuringia, a volunteer, a member of the Greens State Election Evening, she went to the party in his party ErfurtRobert Habeck had come, Katrin Göring-Eckardt, and the ZDF was there. Yilmaz, however, could only stare at the screen with the result: 23% for the AFD. "From now on," she thought that night, "everything will get worse."

Like Yilmaz, after the elections in Thuringia, Saxony and Brandenburg, many non-whites in Germany were involved. Those for whom a quarter of the votes for a racist party is not only uncomfortable, but a personal threat. A teacher told Twitter how much her class was troubled and asked the students the day after the election: "Madam Jutschu, if the AfD decides, will we be kicked out?" "I was born here, but not my father, but he has a German passport, does he have to go anyway?" Schleswig-Holstein Member of Parliament Aminata Touré tweeted: "At the present time, many people write to me, what a fear it holds such an election result."

Even Medina Yilmaz knows this fear, not only since the last elections. "Of course, I have already asked myself the question: once the time has come, as was the case for the Jews, where am I going?" Says Yilmaz. For a moment, she had had the idea of ​​leaving Germany. To go to New Zealand. A green country, idyllic, peaceful. Then, the murderer of Christchurch killed 51 people. This was also the option on the table.

"Racism," says Yilmaz, "is ubiquitous in the world."

One week after the elections, Yilmaz is in the entrance hall of the main train station of Erfurt. A 37-year-old woman, her black hair well knotted behind her, her rimless glasses.

She did not have much time, she said on the phone. In two days she will hold a conference in Berlin, which will be performed at an event on "30 years of peaceful revolution", which she still has to prepare. But it's enough to walk in the rainy Erfurt.

Medina Yilmaz speaks fast. And a lot. Aligns an anecdote anecdote, always framed by one of her views or theories, while she advances with one step on the other. In the meantime, she welcomes people from left to right. The seller in the kebab shop, the artist in front of his favorite cafe, the old lady, who is engaged in "Grannies against the right". She is well connected to Erfurt. And no woman for simple explanations.

Medina Yilmaz was born in 1982 in Berlin-Wedding as a daughter of Kurdish immigrants from Turkey. A conservative home: the stay-at-home mother, Imam's father, three brothers. At age 17, she contracts an arranged marriage and follows an office clerk training. But six years later, she separates, takes Abi and begins working as a conference interpreter.

Yilmaz finally studies political science. Your goal: to become a politician. In Germany, only two state universities propose this subject: Passau and Erfurt. His new husband, also of Kurdish origin, will stay in Berlin for the moment. After Erfurt, both think it's easier to commute. So Thuringia will be your new home. After graduation, she became a consultant to the Ministry of Migration, Justice and Consumer Protection of Thuringia. His job is to coordinate volunteers.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "The electoral success of AFDYilmaz said, she scared her first and foremost. Previously, there were more attacks on synagogues, mosques and perhaps even against her husband's restaurant. Then came the frustration. Because why, she wondered, do people choose this holiday? They are doing well, compared to the inhabitants of the war zones. But then she started to question herself. Has Medina Yilmaz done enough? "Data-reactid =" 33 "> The electoral success of the AFDYilmaz said, she scared her first and foremost. Previously, there were more attacks on synagogues, mosques and perhaps even against her husband's restaurant. Then came the frustration. Because why, she wondered, do people choose this holiday? They are doing well, compared to the inhabitants of the war zones. But then she started to question herself. Has Medina Yilmaz done enough?

Yilmaz is very committed. When many asylum seekers arrived in 2015, they spent several days packing their bags at the Erfurt Exhibition Center, the country 's leading reception center. Help, translate, organize blankets and clothes.

An event leaves it under the protection of the police

In 2013, she became a member of the Greens and presided over the party in Erfurt for two years. It will leave in 2016. The spotlight, the competitive pressure, they are not for them. Their contract with the ministry ends in 2018. She establishes the association "Women in the Middle East" and travels to Turkey and Egypt to help women in their process of economic empowerment. It organizes referrals for refugees, organizes conferences throughout Thuringia, especially on the theme of Islam. At the same time, she packs up with her husband, who has since moved to Erfurt. Serves, rinses, plans the purchase; first in his kebab shop, then at bathiyel bath, his new restaurant. About four times a month, she goes to Berlin to perform, but her life center is now in Erfurt. Has Thuringia become a home?

"Yes," says Yilmaz. " Of course. "

And yet: racism, she says, has increased dramatically here too. In the past, there were only the facial expressions and gestures of the people; in the meantime, people "also dared more verbally". He was threatened at a town council meeting and had to flee anti-AfD protests from angry supporters. At one of his lectures on Islam, they threw him a book; Some of her events leave her under the protection of the police.

She's scared at those times, Yilmaz says. But she is fighting against her. "Then I wonder, why should I be the one who gets away? Should they leave?"

More subversive than obvious threats, she feels subliminal racism. When she was a speaker at the ministry, she said, she has already taken a driver to an official appointment. If she was busy as a belly dancer, he had asked her.

"I thought that when I study it stops," Yilmaz says. "Instead, it got worse, because now it was the envy."

Yilmaz changes his life between cultures and spheres. German, Kurdin, Turkish. Ministry employee and saleswoman at a kebab shop. She speaks High German and sometimes when she speaks with anger, the Berlin girl is in her. "Dude," she said, for example, and raises her hands, "I really do not see it."

The Krämerbrücke in the center of Erfurt, emblem of the city. Half-timbered houses, paved, on the sidewalk, a group of tourists.

Yilmaz goes to a bookstore, a long, narrow shop, subdued lighting, children's books and board games on the shelves. The owner, Bernhard Schmidtmann, a laid-back 59-year-old, is a good friend of hers. The two met in 2015 when helping refugees. Schmidtmann supports the Yilmaz association by donations, is also active on the wharf.

"We need motivated workers in the region," Schmidtmann said. "Nobody goes back in 1933." Already, the AfD is leading the other parties in front of him. For him, the party is forbidden. Would it be dangerous to position oneself publicly with this attitude in Erfurt? Schmidtmann thought for a moment. Until now, nothing has happened, he says. "And at some point you have to say something."

Medina Yilmaz thinks that AFD is not only threatening people like them, who fit in with the image of the enemy. But also long-established Germans who have committed themselves against party politics. Especially in the smaller communities.

If the problem is more serious in East Germany? Yilmaz says that reducing Thuringia to racists does not do justice to the people here. It then does what many East Germans have left in areas where the AfD share is high: it refers to those who did not choose the AfD. In Thuringia it was 77%.

"The people of East Germany have suffered a lot," says Yilmaz. "Many have lost their jobs, the kids have moved to the West." Of course, frustration is spreading. At the same time, she thinks, racism in the East has always existed. As there was little contact with foreigners, contract workers lived mainly isolated from the majority society.

According to Yilmaz, when many refugees arrived in 2015, several developments were successful. A subliminal racism. Dissatisfaction. "And then the new people who were welcomed suddenly found themselves with public money, which obviously frustrated the citizens. In the cityscape of Erfurt, a lot has changed for the worse, she says. There are now more young asylum seekers who would encourage visiting women to enter. She herself would not go to the pool in Erfurt.

She is infected with this position, even in her circle of friends. So, does she understand the voters of the AfD? She thought for a moment. True understanding, she said. But she could already explain the development. "These are not all Nazis just because they chose the Nazis," she says. "Many do not know better." There is only one way for them: the contact. And you have to fix the problems right, she says. And at the same time, not only see the negative. Positive things are enough.

Not far from Angers lies the Trommsdorffstraße. A discrete piece of Erfurt, sterile illuminated; on the ground floor houses: halal butcher shops, kebab shops, oriental grocery stores. "Bin Laden Avenue" is called the pejorative street by some Erfurtern.

Only a few years ago, says Yilmaz, many shops were empty here. Old bakeries that had to give up, furniture stores that were no longer profitable. They are asylum seekers from Afghanistan and Syria who brought the street back to life. She speaks constantly: integration is a laborious process. But it will not work without her.

Migrants need to be more visible, she says

"The emigration after reunification has severely damaged Thuringia," Yilmaz said. Without skilled foreign workers, this does not continue. Only the AfD did not want to see that. "Because it sows hatred, no one comes here willingly, and those who come are cut off as soon as they can." In the end, says Yilmaz, abolish the AFD Germany with her.

Migrants need to be more visible in society, she says. Wherever the voters of AFD can not stay out of their way: in the administration, at the hospital, in the football club.

She wanted to do her part. Sometimes she plays with the idea of ​​getting back into politics, maybe even going to the state legislature. "My chances," she says, "would probably not be bad." However, she was afraid of finally being a target. Maybe stones will fly through the windows of their restaurant.

What she considers to be her friends and acquaintances in her family, says Yilmaz. Among them are migrants and asylum seekers who have been living in the city for a short time. For many, the residence requirement, which could not easily escape. "I can not let you down," Yilmaz says. After all, she is a model for her.

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