March 15, 2017

ACTUALLY, IT’S A VERY OLD ENEMY: Erdogan and Europe: The EU Has a New Enemy.

A bitter dispute between Turkey and the European Union is spreading across the continent this week, following decisions by the German and Dutch governments to cancel Turkish diaspora rallies in Europe. . . .

Erdogan’s inflammatory accusations are not merely anti-EU posturing. Turkey and the West are undergoing an increasingly acrimonious divorce, with both sides shedding former illusions about their shared values and interests. Erdogan has locked up tens of thousands of people on the flimsiest excuses, committed extraordinary human rights abuses, and abandoned every principle that the EU believes in. More fundamentally, he has destroyed the best hope in a generation of genuinely Islamic form of democracy, and is currently stoking Islamophobia in the West and xenophobia in Turkey.

The escalating row is already increasing this mutual resentment. In Turkey, the diplomatic slights and police action against protesters have incited popular outrage, with both AK Party supporters and the opposition calling for a suspension of relations with the Netherlands, while Erdogan mulls sanctions. In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders has harped on the controversy to drum up last-minute momentum for his anti-Islamic party ahead of Wednesday’s elections; France’s Marine Le Pen has similarly been demagoguing the issue. Mainstream European politicians, meanwhile, are feeling the pressure to take a hard line against Turkey to avoid being outflanked by the far Right.

Turkey and Europe are, in fact, returning to their traditional relationship as yet another postwar institutional arrangment comes to an end.

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