Turkey and Europe

There is a lot of resentment today in Turkey against Europe, particularly because the EU has deliberately dragged its feet in considering Turkey’s application to join the EU.  The application was made 30 years ago, and in 2016 the European Parliament suspended the Turkish application.  Once Pres. Erdogan took power in Turkey, he has gradually changed Turkey from the secular State that was founded by Kemal Ataturk to an autocratic Islamic State.  

Now Erdogan is trying to change the Turkish Constitution so that he has more Presidential power, and since there are hundreds of thousands of Turks living in Europe, who can vote in the upcoming referendum on the constitutional changes, Erdogan has been actively soliciting their vote.  He was even going to Germany to address the Turks there. But, because of previous experience of such crowds, the German Government quite rightly refused to allow him to enter.  Instead he sent a representative, who riled the crowds up into an anti-German and anti-European fervor, and they then trashed the location. The riot police went in and there was fighting and arrests.  But, while Germany does not want Erdogan stirring up Turkish nationalism in Germany, nevertheless, Chancellor Merkel does not want to antagonise them either, because she is coming up for an election very soon too, and most of the Turks in Germany have been there for a long time and have the vote there too.

A similar thing occurred in Holland at the same time, with similar consequences. But, the anti-Dutch themes of the Turkish Muslim immigrants caused a patriotic backlash. Instead of helping the right-wing candidate in the Dutch elections, Geert Wilders, it helped the more mainstream conservative People’s Party for Democracy and Freedom leader Mark Rutte to retain his position as PM.   So the attempt by Turkish leader Erdogan to undermine the European countries where there are large number of Turks backfired.  But, Turks themselves are not usually Muslim terrorists, and in fact there is a wave of terrorism in Turkey by both IS and Kurdish militants.  In any case, the idea that now, with Erdogan’s anti-democratic actions and anti-European stance, that Turkey could ever be accepted into the EU is almost certainly dead.

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