President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan suggested abandoning Turkey’s bid to join the European Union after warning that Europeans would not be safe anywhere around the world.
Expat Turks have begun voting in an April 16 referendum to give Erdoğan more power by eliminating the prime minister’s post and replacing the country’s current parliamentary system. After officials in the Netherlands and Germany clamped down on his regime’s efforts to rally voter support in those countries, citing security concerns, Erdoğan accused the European nations of using “Nazi methods.”
“Turkey is not a country you can pull and push around, not a country whose citizens you can drag on the ground,” Erdoğan said last week in comments carried live on national television. “If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the world can walk safely on the streets. Europe will be damaged by this. We, as Turkey, call on Europe to respect human rights and democracy.”
Erdoğan, a founder of the ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP), suggested over the weekend a subsequent referendum to see if the country should drop its long-running EU bid, which has been seriously wounded by condemnations of Erdoğan’s authoritarian purges of perceived enemies over the past several months.
“Turkey has waited at the door [of the EU] for 54 years,” Erdoğan said on Saturday. “What? If a ‘yes’ comes out on 16 April, they would not take us into the European Union? Oh, if only they could give this decision! They would make our work easier.”
“We will put this [EU-Turkey] business on the table because Turkey is no one’s whipping boy.”
Jordan’s monarch warned U.S. lawmakers last year that flushing terrorists into Europe is part of Erdoğan’s plan to spread radical Islam, according to notes from a confidential early January 2016 meeting viewed by The Guardian.
According to the Guardian, Abdullah met privately with congressional leaders including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) to discuss how Jordan would be embedded with British special forces in Libya.
Abdullah reportedly told the lawmakers that the terror fight is about much more than just ISIS: “This is a third world war, this is Christians, Jews working with Muslims against outlaws.”
The memo says the king told lawmakers that Erdoğan “believes in a radical Islamic solution to the problems in the region” and the “fact that terrorists are going to Europe is part of Turkish policy, and Turkey keeps getting a slap on the hand, but they get off the hook.”
According to Middle East Eye, Abdullah also told lawmakers, on a day that his planned meeting with President Obama was canceled, that Erdoğan was “absolutely” accepting ISIS oil exports.