A few days ago, the stern published an article about Ümit Özdağ, founder and chairman of the right-wing Turkish party Zafer Partisi (Party of Victory). In addition to other experts, the political scientist Burak Çopur also gave his assessment of Özdağ, calling him the “Turkish Björn Höcke” among other things. Özdağ and his supporters are now rushing against Çopur on Twitter and insulting him.

“Nothing more than a propagandist who appears to be an academic,” tweeted Turkish right-wing politician Ümit Özdağ last Thursday about Turkey expert Burak Çopur. He is a “superficial and self-serving rag of left-liberal tradition”. Finally, he even challenges the Turkey expert to a television duel, “whenever you want and wherever you want.”

Shortly before that, Çopur, a political scientist with a doctorate and a university professor from Essen, called the right-wing Turkish politician Özdağ the “Turkish Björn Höcke” in an analysis by Stern magazine. Stern’s Twitter post, which refers to the article, has already been viewed more than 750,000 times. For days now, Özdağ’s supporters have been raging with their slogans and contradictions in the comment column of the post: Stern is once again appearing in its usual role as “chief provocateur”, he is acting as a propaganda tool for the West and badmouthing a Turkish patriot. In between, the statement “If you love the Syrian refugees so much, then you’ll take them!”. And in the midst of right-wing criticism, Burak Çopur.

Çopur is a political scientist from Essen, has Turkish roots and has lived in Germany for more than 40 years. For many years he has appeared in the media in Germany as an outspoken critic of Erdogan and his AKP party. He is a frequent guest on German talk shows when it comes to Turkey. He also commented on the Turkish party landscape for an analysis of the star. Namely to Ümit Özdağ and his Zafer Partisi, his Victory Party. Özdağ and his party have deliberately exploited the mood in Turkey since the devastating February 6 earthquake to agitate against Syrian refugees. Again and again, their supporters claim that the refugees are to blame for the catastrophic situation in the country: it is said that the Syrians are taking advantage of the suffering of the battered Turkish society, plundering, stealing and raping.

Propaganda that clearly identified and condemned Çopur and other experts as such. Now he himself has become the target of hate speech. again. “Basically, I’m used to it,” says Çopur a few days after the article about Özdag appeared. “I’ve been under attack from Erdoganists and Turkish right-wing extremists for years.” Now he has probably stung again in a wasp’s nest. Since the post appeared on Twitter, he has been called a “traitor to the fatherland”, a “terrorist of the Gülen movement” and a “dog of the Germans”.

“Basically, I only called the current situation by its name in my expertise,” says Çopur. “And from the reactions it’s very easy to conclude that the criticism has hit them very hard.” In particular, the term “Turkish Björn Höcke” did not fail to have an effect. However, he did not expect such a harsh reaction from Özdağ and his supporters. “One would think that, as an opposition politician in Turkey’s crisis region, he would have better things to do after the quake than dealing with an article from Germany,” says Çopur. “But I stand by what I said in the interview,” he emphasizes. It is important to him that Turkey eventually finds its way back to democracy. “And that will certainly not happen if Turkish right-wing extremists don’t criticize the government, but try to divert all the anger in the country to refugees.”

How does he feel about Özdağ’s challenge to a TV duel? “Well, I’m not sure if that was really meant seriously,” says Çopur. Discussing with him on Turkish television in front of his supporters just to give him another stage for his hate speech would do no good.

But Mr Özdağ speaks perfect German, he studied in Munich for a long time. If the dispute were moderated professionally by the German side, he could imagine such a discussion, says Çopur. “But I don’t know how much sense it makes when a professor from Germany argues with a militant, racist professor from Turkey on German television.”