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Turkey, Erdogan, and what this means for Europe?

Since the failed Turkish coup last year, Erdogan has been tightening his grip on Turkey - and in essence has been finalising his dictatorship. There's a very worrying referendum coming up shortly which would allow him to veto any Parliamentary decision, sack ministers, issue Executive Orders that Parliament are unable to block, whilst also removing any accountability that ministers currently have to Parliament. In short, it solidifies his position.

As this is a big deal, there's a lot of Brexit style ("Yes"/"No") campaigning going on - except rallies against the proposed changes have resulted in the venues experiencing power disruption, intervention from riot police, and even individuals being arrested by the security forces. Then, despite Turkey's laws making it illegal to campaign overseas, there's been a few attempts anyway .. and this is where it gets a bit worrying.

It began with a Turkish minister, Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, going to The Netherlands to campaign for the referendum. Despite being told that she would not be allowed to campaign there, she mislead officials and attempted to do so anyway. Eventually she was forced to leave, but this sparked riots in Rotterdam, and eventually Erdogan accused the Dutch of Nazism and being a "Banana Republic". Since then Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, and most surprisingly of all, Germany, have all blocked campaigning attempts on their soil.

Now Erdogan has stepped up the rhetoric:


Not only that, but he's told those Turks who have moved to Europe that they should have larger families and become "The Future of Europe".

Let's not forget that Turkey has also shot down a Russian fighter jet, and the Russian ambassador was also assassinated by a Police Officer, all since the coup of July 2016. That is, the coup which was poorly executed and rather convenient in timing.

So what's the next step? We have a member of NATO who is on the way to becoming a dictatorship, a supposed ally of the EU who appears to be issuing threats, and one who seems hell-bent on destroying nearly 100 years of near-Secularism. Almost as though he has a pining for the days of the Ottoman Empire..

Comments

  • edited March 2017
    Turkey ruled a great empire under the Ottomans for hundreds of years. The 'middle east' and the eastern Mediterranean were under Turkish control pretty much until the end of WW1, though Greece and parts of the Balkans freed themselves from the Turkish yoke during the nineteenth century.
    The bitter legacy of the Ottoman empire lingered on, especially in former Yugoslavia with the 'ethnic cleansing' wars until almost into the 21st century.

    Attaturk (a very politically and ethnically complicated man) established a secular society which pertained well into this century. But as American aid was reduced after the cold war and as the influence of Islam increased, Turkey, always a proud nation, fell into a black hole economically and politically, hence the rise of Erdogan's quasi dictatorship.
    Erdogan in my opinion is a Fascist, at best a rabid nationalist, he is Turkey's version of Putin. However his policies and hatreds seem to reflect the will and wishes of the Turkish people in that they want respect and power once more in and over an area they regard as 'their' lands, i.e. the middle east. Like the Russians, the Turks have seen their fortunes and influence decline and they want to regain their former glories, imagined or not.

    What to do ? ... the middle east is in a terrible mess and it's getting messier. Will NATO still hold after Brexit ? .. is NATO still necessary ?, will the USA continue to finance NATO ?, will Turkey want to remain in NATO as it builds better relations with Russia, a close neighbour of course ?
    Right now Turkey holds a very powerful blackmail stick over the EU, the matter of being paid billions to keep refugees away from Europe. Erdogan can withdraw his agreement at any time and this terrifies the EU leaders, especially Frau Merkel. Erdogan right now is whipping up nationalist frenzies amongst ex-patriot Turks of whom there are millions right across western and central Europe. Is he a closet Islamic fascist ? .. whatever, the man is a menace and dictators are ignored at the peril of other nations e.g. Hitler, Stalin, Napoleon etc. etc.
    Any opponents of Erdogan are now under lock and key or dead, the press is censored, the army under his control and the military forces in Turkey are huge and well financed.
    No decisions as to the UK's relations with Turkey could be taken until after Brexit is fully accomplished and we re clear of any German manipulation of UK foreign policy.
    In my opinion the UK should support all efforts by the Kurds to create their own nation, that will keep Erdogan and his merry men on their toes and fully occupied.
    Right now the Kurds seem to be the only rational and ethical (just) people in what is a troubled country and part of the world. But of course, Kurdistan if it ever came to fruition would control the sources of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the 'life waters' of the middle east and no other nation in the area, Iraq, Iran, Syria or Turkey will allow that to happen. It's a mess
  • Interesting stuff about the rivers Lincs...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tigris
  • Interesting stuff about the rivers Lincs...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tigris

    control of oil is sooooooo yesterday ((:>) .. who controls the clean waters will be the next series of international flashpoints
  • Great post links
  • Very worrying time - combination of Putin, Trump and Erdogan will cause chaos in the Middle East and add to the instability within Europe. Far right politics seem to be on the rise at present and the future looks very uncertain....
  • Great post links

    Bloody spellchecker
  • Not sure how all this fits with the charming resort where I've stayed on holiday a few times. Nice bars, cheap food, good shops, friendly people.
  • As I rapidly approach 60 I do worry what the future holds for my children and Grandchildren. It seems that the world is about to embark on a very worrying times for us all.

    Mind you I would still feel a lot less pessimistic if Roland sells!
  • Not sure how all this fits with the charming resort where I've stayed on holiday a few times. Nice bars, cheap food, good shops, friendly people.

    I would have thought after his statement tourism from Europeans will drop dramatically having an impact on the tourist resorts.
  • Sponsored links:


  • And now the trouble really starts... ;-)

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39354775
  • Erdy Gerdy won't rest until all Turks are under lock and key

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39716631
  • Very worrying time - combination of Putin, Trump and Erdogan will cause chaos in the Middle East and add to the instability within Europe. Far right politics seem to be on the rise at present and the future looks very uncertain....

    Thank goodness we won't be looking to cut any trade deals with that lot in the near future.
  • Very worrying time - combination of Putin, Trump and Erdogan will cause chaos in the Middle East and add to the instability within Europe. Far right politics seem to be on the rise at present and the future looks very uncertain....

    Funny, as I was reading it I was thinking "Erdogan and Trump are going to get along like a house on fire."

    My impression of Turkey is that it is a "secular" nation fighting to become a religious one, not entirely different to the US is some ways. Erdogan says some really, lets say, outlandish things. But it's hard for me to get a feel for what is bluster and what isn't. A good example of this was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. When he would do things like deny the Holocaust, we can debate whether or not this pretty well educated civil engineer by trade actually believed it. But it played to his base, and helped further his foreign policy agenda (e.g. Israel is bad). That is not to dismiss or excuse comments form either Erdogan or Ahmadinejad, but I do think that sometimes we lack context for when people are saying things seriously, and when it is traditional politician's bluster.

    It's almost like you could say that you should take them seriously, but not literally (I just threw up in my mouth a little).

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Roland Out!