What has transpired in the Middle East in the past week goes far beyond the feigned humanitarian concerns for the Kurds the world mainstream media and many governments portend is the main reason for all their angst. Most do not know or really care about constant threads of history woven in and around Turkey for the past couple of thousand years and what it all really means. At best the best journalism coming out about this is covering 10%, maybe 15% to 20% of what needs to be told to folks.
If they, the folks that is, care at all or are paying any attention.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, rose to power in 2002. From that time on he has increased his power and at present, though the media does not clearly report this, nor will the U.S. government or any other Western government report the truth that Mr. Erdogan is an iron-fisted, ruthless, maniacal dictator. Power mad. Yet every U.S. president since Mr. Erdogan has risen to power; George W. Bush, Barack Hussein Obama, and Donald Trump have all bowed to Mr. Erdogan and made him more powerful by either their actions, or their inaction. Barack Hussein Obama on more than on occasion stated Mr. Erdogan was his closest and best friend of any world leader. Both George W. Bush and Donald Trump have played right into Turkey’s hands all the years Mr. Erdogan has been in power and clearly, rapidly altering Turkey into a militant Islamist nation — a true dictatorship pretending to be a democracy.
Do not let the fact Turkey is a member of NATO and reported to be an ally of the United States cloud the truth. Which is Mr. Erdogan and Turkey are enemies of America. Enemies of Christianity. Enemies of all the West and all who are not hardcore Islamists. Enemies of Israel. Enemies of all Jews as he and Turkey are all Christians, or anyone not devout Islamist. Fifteen, twenty years ago Turkey was the most Westernized country in the Middle East with a predominately Islamic population. Turkey now more closely resembles Yemen or Iran in its ideology. Granted, Turkey has far more wealth than, say, Yemen, certainly, but the belief system imposed and changed over to is fundamentalist Sharia anti-any place, anyone not Islamic. Turkey, like every other Islamist state or nation not only desires to remove Israel and all Jews off the face of the earth, they continually lie to, use, and get from the West all they can in their quest to dominate. To expand their power — and Mr. Erdogan and the Turkish Islamists also loath and desire to conquer Islamists not aligned with them in other lands.
Ally? Friend? Credible and to be believed and trusted?
Are you really serious?
Mr. Erdogan wasn’t concerned the Kurds are “terrorists” in his eyes and he insisted and reported obligingly by the world media. In negotiations with the U.S. and the Kurds he and Turkey had a 20 mile wide “buffer zone” that was Kurd free. All that was a ruse. A smokescreen. Sleight-of-hand to distract. Bold and premeditated. Oh, yes, he views the Kurds as terrorists and despises them desiring they all be exterminated from the face of the earth, but to make them and his false 20 mile wide buffer zone the focus of the sleight-of-hand negotiations at this time ought to be clearly seen for the ruse it is.
Mr. Erdogan was itching to invade Syria. But he is not so foolish as to do so with thousands of U.S. military troops in Northern Syria. When Mr. Trump made the announcement U.S. troops in the area would pullback, then withdraw? And Mr. Trump ordered U.S. troops to vacate the area? What then happened? What chain of events began?
Yes, Mr. Trump wanted to avoid a major Middle east war, perhaps even escalating into World War 3 — since Russia and Communist China are within distance to feel their breath on ones neck there. But moving U.S. troops out of the area greatly facilitated Turkey’s actions.
Russia and Turkey are all comfy cozy. Peas in a pod. Now they are truly allies. Russia has been aiding and working hand in hand with Turkey for many years (for homework do some Bible study about Turkey, Russia and the nations involved in the last days building up to the Great Tribulation and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ the Lord).
Mr. Erdogan and Turkey are expansionists. Like almost every obsessed dictator in history has been. There is never enough power, never enough land to invade and conquer, never enough people to remove from the face of the earth for them. He wants to rule the Middle East. Be the supreme power in the region. Mr. Erdogan and Iran are at odds — each desiring to be the supreme Islamist power in the Middle East. Both craving nuclear weapons, building, researching, mining, refining, working towards a full-fledged nuclear weapons program to produce as many nuclear weapons as possible. For what? Defense? From whom? Kurds with automatic rifles, grenades, some artillery and ground based basic military weapons? No air force. No major forces period. Refining uranium into plutonium is not so they can build nuclear power plants as the story goes…
No, Mr. Erdogan craves nuclear weapons to be THEE Islamist state / nation to first acquire them and thus be the supreme Islamist power in the region. To expand his and Turkey’s power. To strike terror into all in the region and keep them in control by Turkey’s mere presence of holding nuclear weapons in their arsenal.
Every U.S. president since George W. Bush have fallen for the lies of Erdogan and Turkey. Why? Because the U.S. has air bases in Turkey. Has at times been granted to fly in Turkish air space. We feel compelled that we need them. That they are strategic for our military uses.
There are more similarities than dissimilarities between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Adolf Hitler, between how the Western nations and governments refused to believe what Hitler and Germany were up to until they had broken the Versailles Treaty on numerous occasions leading up to and including rolling the Nazi military into the Rhineland, then Austria, then the Sudetenland right before the Blitzkrieg invasion of Poland and Czechoslovakia. You know the rest.
The West, the Western leaders and governments of the time sat idle. In ignorance. Arguing amongst themselves. Arguing within nations, parliaments and within the Congress. In denial, In delusion. Ignoring what was transpiring right before them. There was only one loud voice crying out in the West regarding Hitler and Germany. That was Winston Churchill, who was mocked, ridiculed, laughed at, called a tottering old fool and basically run out of the British government (until they realized Chamberlain was a ridiculous and foolish man and they needed Winston Churchill).
There is a saying I think everyone has heard at least a few times; those who do not pay attention to history are doomed to repeat it. Hardly anyone pays attention to history. Most don’t care and don’t know. And they like it that way. Claiming “history is boring!” or “what happened way back then has no bearing, no relevance now!” ignorant, blind of the constant spinning and weaving of the threads making up the perpetual fabric of human history we all wear on a daily basis. We’re still living the results and consequences of World War I let alone World War II. We’re still living the consequences of Jesus — God coming to earth and dying on a cross to rise from the dead on the Third Day to ascend to heaven after 40 days, having been seen risen from the dead by at least 500 people.
The problem is everything is part of the Holy Bible and the non-stop spiritual war taking place everywhere within and around everyone. But who cares and is paying attention?
98% of Turkey’s over 80,000,000 population are Islamists. In the land where the apostle Paul began the majority of Christian churches. In the land where the seven churches the apostle John writes the book of Revelation as the Lord Jesus revealed that book to John on the isle of Patmos.
What is now Turkey is where Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Laodicea, Philadelphia,Galatia, Lystra, and Antioch were and are now otherwise named. One of the early church historians, Tertullian proposed that the land making up present day Turkey was the first Christian nation on earth called Asia at the time.
As of the most recent data in a land of over 80 million souls there are fewer than 100,000 to 120,000 Christians. And more and more are disappearing regularly or leaving Turkey if they are able.
What is taking place in that region is Biblical.
It ought to be of interest to every person and especially to every professed Christian.
Why? For one we are to love and pray for our enemies. We also are to pray for our fellow brothers and sisters in the faith. To pray for world leaders to have their dark, cold, hard, egomaniac hearts pierced by the Spirit of God and to bow and yield to the Lord.
We are not to take personal offense. Personal vengeance. No, let that never be part of us or within our hearts — but we are to take offense to anything and all things which God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit take offense. We are to hate evil. To speak out against evil.
To judge all spirits while also living and exhibiting mercy, compassion and love for all.
That is to walk closer to God and be a more godly person. A true disciple of Jesus Christ the Lord.
Not easy always. Not easy a lot of the time let’s be honest.
Yet we are to have agape love, a giving love, not only for our fellow believers in Christ, but for all people. Compassion for the world. How? Why? Because Jesus Christ the Lord loved us and had compassion on us when we were His enemy? When we were in darkness. Dead, cold hearts not close to being turned to the Lord.
Loving God means loving truth. God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures are the truest truth on earth. God is a God of truth. The Triune God is a God of truth. All the commandments, such as the Great Commandment — love your neighbor as yourself requires a great commitment to truth.
Love, kindness, and compassion must include a deep concern that people understand the truth, since their lives depend upon it. The greatest part of a true relationship with God is founded on knowing, understanding the truth. This requires us to use our minds. Use the minds the Good Lord has given us. The Great Commandment involves, includes loving God with one’s mind, as well as heart and soul (see Mark 12:30).
This is what we must do. Have the right motives within our hearts and minds. Be as pure as possible while there is this constant war between flesh and spirit, find a balance in all this. In everything.
Yet boldly call evil what it is. Evil. Sin what it is. Sin. What offends God our Father must needs also offend us or we are not truly His.
This is not contradictory, nor impossible nor to taxing. Not if we continually turn to the Lord in fervent prayer. Turn to the Scriptures daily and deeply. Trust, believe, live as the salt of the earth, a light unto the world seeking God, seeking to know Jesus better. Which all comes from immersing ourselves in the Holy Bible and asking, out right asking for increased faithfulness, increased spiritual discernment, increased wisdom in all things and the Lord will bless, will provide, will give — but as James writes — only if we do all this in faithfulness. Believing. And we are not double-minded.
Mr. Erdogan is evil. He is a liar. He is ruthless. He lusts after nuclear weapons and to increase his power, his reach into other lands and peoples. To remove all those from the face of this earth he hates and oppose him and his ideology. He is filled with blood lust and mad with power. Not a friend. Not an ally and, sadly, none in our government are working from a Biblical, spiritual base. Biblical perspective. Why they aren’t even working from a worldly historical perspective! It is evident almost all are lacking true knowledge of history, intent — motive — and it all comes down to motive. Where is the heart? What is the motive behind every action? For every world leader. For every nation. For every person — and especially us. What is, are the motives within our hearts?
Pure and godly according to the Word of God while also being watchmen and women and speaking boldly the truth, knowing what is unfolding through the Holy Spirit teaching us, measuring out to each who seeks and asks according to how our Father measures out to His faithful children ought to be what reigns within our hearts.
Or, do we have worldly hearts?
It’s all about motive. Intent. The condition of, the purity of the heart and mind.
For each person.
Let it start with me…
Monday, October 21st, 2019
ACP — A Crooked Path
Erdogan’s Ambitions Go Beyond Syria. He Says He Wants Nuclear Weapons
By David E. Sanger and William J. Broad
October 20, 2019
Reprinted from: The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, wants more than control over a wide swath of Syria along his country’s border. He says he wants the Bomb.
In the weeks leading up to his order to launch the military across the border to clear Kurdish areas, Mr. Erdogan made no secret of his larger ambition. “Some countries have missiles with nuclear warheads,” he told a meeting of his governing party in September. But the West insists “we can’t have them,” he said. “This, I cannot accept.”
With Turkey now in open confrontation with its NATO allies, having gambled and won a bet that it could conduct a military incursion into Syria and get away with it, Mr. Erdogan’s threat takes on new meaning. If the United States could not prevent the Turkish leader from routing its Kurdish allies, how can it stop him from building a nuclear weapon or following Iran in gathering the technology to do so?
It was not the first time Mr. Erdogan has spoken about breaking free of the restrictions on countries that have signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and no one is quite sure of his true intentions. The Turkish autocrat is a master of keeping allies and adversaries off balance, as President Trump discovered in the past two weeks.
“The Turks have said for years that they will follow what Iran does,” said John J. Hamre, a former deputy secretary of defense who now runs the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “But this time is different. Erdogan has just facilitated America’s retreat from the region.”
“Maybe, like the Iranians, he needs to show that he is on the two-yard line, that he could get a weapon at any moment,” Mr. Hamre said.
If so, he is on his way — with a program more advanced than that of Saudi Arabia, but well short of what Iran has assembled. But experts say it is doubtful that Mr. Erdogan could put a weapon together in secret. And any public move to reach for one would provoke a new crisis: His country would become the first NATO member to break out of the treaty and independently arm itself with the ultimate weapon.
Already Turkey has the makings of a bomb program: uranium deposits and research reactors — and mysterious ties to the nuclear world’s most famous black marketeer, Abdul Qadeer Khan of Pakistan. It is also building its first big power reactor to generate electricity with Russia’s help. That could pose a concern because Mr. Erdogan has not said how he would handle its nuclear waste, which could provide the fuel for a weapon. Russia also built Iran’s Bushehr reactor.
Experts said it would take a number of years for Turkey to get to a weapon, unless Mr. Erdogan bought one. And the risk for Mr. Erdogan would be considerable.
“Erdogan is playing to an anti-American domestic audience with his nuclear rhetoric, but is highly unlikely to pursue nuclear weapons,” said Jessica C. Varnum, an expert on Turkey at Middlebury’s James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, Calif. “There would be huge economic and reputational costs to Turkey, which would hurt the pocketbooks of Erdogan’s voters.”
“For Erdogan,” Ms. Varnum said, “that strikes me as a bridge too far.”
There is another element to this ambiguous atomic mix: The presence of roughly 50 American nuclear weapons, stored on Turkish soil. The United States had never openly acknowledged their existence, until Wednesday, when Mr. Trump did exactly that.
Asked about the safety of those weapons, kept in an American-controlled bunker at Incirlik Air Base, Mr. Trump said, “We’re confident, and we have a great air base there, a very powerful air base.”
But not everyone is so confident, because the air base belongs to the Turkish government. If relations with Turkey deteriorated, the American access to that base is not assured.
Turkey has been a base for American nuclear weapons for more than six decades. Initially, they were intended to deter the Soviet Union, and were famously a negotiating chip in defusing the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when President John F. Kennedy secretly agreed to remove missiles from Turkey in return for Moscow doing the same in Cuba.
But tactical weapons have remained. Over the years, American officials have often expressed nervousness about the weapons, which have little to no strategic use versus Russia now, but have been part of a NATO strategy to keep regional players in check — and keep Turkey from feeling the need for a bomb of its own.
When Mr. Erdogan put down an attempted military coup in July 2016, the Obama administration quietly drew up an extensive contingency plan for removing the weapons from Incirlik, according to former government officials. But it was never put in action, in part because of fears that removing the American weapons would, at best, undercut the alliance, and perhaps give Mr. Erdogan an excuse to build his own arsenal.
For decades, Turkey has been hedging its bets. Starting in 1979, it began operating a few small research reactors, and since 1986, it has made reactor fuel at a pilot plant in Istanbul. The Istanbul complex also handles spent fuel and its highly radioactive waste.
“They’re building up their nuclear expertise,” Olli Heinonen, the former chief inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in an interview. “It’s high quality stuff.”
He added that Ankara might “come to the threshold” of the bomb option in four or five years, or sooner, with substantial foreign help. Mr. Heinonen noted that Moscow is now playing an increasingly prominent role in Turkish nuclear projects and long-range planning.
Turkey’s program, like Iran’s, has been characterized as an effort to develop civilian nuclear power.
Russia has agreed to build four nuclear reactors in Turkey, but the effort is seriously behind schedule. The first reactor, originally scheduled to go into operation this year, is now seen as starting up in late 2023.
The big question is what happens to its spent fuel. Nuclear experts agree that the hardest part of bomb acquisition is not coming up with designs or blueprints, but obtaining the fuel. A civilian nuclear power program is often a ruse for making that fuel, and building a clandestine nuclear arsenal.
Turkey has uranium deposits — the obligatory raw material — and over the decades has shown great interest in learning the formidable skills needed to purify uranium as well as to turn it into plutonium, the two main fuels of atom bombs. A 2012 report from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, “Turkey and the Bomb,” noted that Ankara “has left its nuclear options open.”
Hans Rühle, the head of planning in the German Ministry of Defense from 1982 to 1988, went further. In a 2015 report, he said “the Western intelligence community now largely agrees that Turkey is working both on nuclear weapon systems and on their means of delivery.”
In a 2017 study, the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group in Washington that tracks the bomb’s spread, concluded that Mr. Erdogan’s efforts to consolidate power and raise Turkey’s regional status were increasing “the risk that Turkey will seek nuclear weapons capabilities.”
In response to the German assertion and other similar assessments, Turkey has repeatedly denied a secret nuclear arms effort, with its foreign ministry noting that Turkey is “part of NATO’s collective defense system.”
But Mr. Erdogan’s recent statements were notable for failing to mention NATO, and for expressing his long-running grievance that the country has been prohibited from possessing an arsenal of its own. Turkey has staunchly defended what it calls its right under peaceful global accords to enrich uranium and reprocess spent fuel, the critical steps to a bomb the Trump administration is insisting Iran must surrender.
Turkey’s uranium skills were highlighted in the 2000s when international sleuths found it to be a covert industrial hub for the nuclear black market of Mr. Khan, a builder of Pakistan’s arsenal. The rogue scientist — who masterminded the largest illicit nuclear proliferation ring in history — sold key equipment and designs to Iran, Libya and North Korea.
The most important items were centrifuges. The tall machines spin at supersonic speeds to purify uranium, and governments typically classify their designs as top secret. Their output, depending on the level of enrichment, can fuel reactors or atom bombs.
According to “Nuclear Black Markets,” a report on the Khan network by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a London think tank, companies in Turkey aided the covert effort by importing materials from Europe, making centrifuge parts and shipping finished products to customers.
A riddle to this day is whether the Khan network had a fourth customer. Dr. Rühle, the former German defense official, said intelligence sources believe Turkey could possess “a considerable number of centrifuges of unknown origin.” The idea that Ankara could be the fourth customer, he added, “does not appear far-fetched.” But there is no public evidence of any such facilities.
What is clear is that in developing its nuclear program, Turkey has found a partner: President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. In April 2018, Mr. Putin traveled to Turkey to signal the official start of construction of a $20 billion nuclear plant on the country’s Mediterranean coast.
Part of Russia’s motivation is financial. Building nuclear plants is one of the country’s most profitable exports. But it also serves another purpose: Like Mr. Putin’s export of an S-400 air defense system to Ankara — again, over American objections — the construction of the plant puts a NATO member partly in Russia’s camp, dependent on it for technology.
How Recep Erdogan became the most powerful man in Europe
Turkey’s thuggish president has European leaders exactly where he wants them
By Douglas Murray
Reprinted from: The Spectator
7 May, 2016
Update: Since this article was published Ahmet Davutoglu has resigned as Turkey’s Prime Minister. Reports suggest this comes as a result of a rift with President Erdogan caused by the increasingly ‘Presidential’ nature of Turkey’s politics.
Is Turkey part of Europe? For most of our civilisation’s history, to have even asked such a question would have been to invite derision. The Ottomans were kept out of Europe not by some early-onset prejudice, but by the armies of Europe having to beat back their repeated invasions. The question became slightly more plausible a century ago with the rise of Ataturk and the modern Turkish state (one of the only successful efforts to reconcile the Islamic religion with state power). For a brief period around the turn of the millennium, some serious people (including the British government) supported Turkey joining the EU.
But today, the question has become academic — first because Turkey’s liberal trajectory long ago halted and began rolling backwards. And secondly because the country is now coming into Europe anyway. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, has persuaded the EU to grant visa-free travel to his 75 million countrymen inside Europe’s passport-free Schengen area. In so doing, he has made more progress than any of his predecessors. Using a combination of intimidation, threats and blackmail, he has succeeded in opening wide the doors of Europe.
Erdogan’s success matters, because it says much about the EU — and the idea that it exerts ‘soft power’. This was the theory in 1999 when the EU declared Turkey to be ‘a candidate State, destined to join the Union’ so long as it fulfilled the standard criteria for membership. Its state should have ‘achieved stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights, respect for and protection of minorities’. Four years later, the EU announced that Turkey had ‘taken important steps’ to ensure effective implementation, particularly in allowing Turkish citizens to ‘enjoy fundamental freedoms and human rights in line with European standards’.
For a brief moment, it all seemed to be going well. Formal accession negotiations began in 2005, but by then something important had happened to Turkey. That something was Recep Tayyip Erdogan. First elected with his ‘Justice and Development’ party (AKP) as prime minister in 2003, the man who is now president set about fundamentally altering Turkey’s direction of travel. He was not some proud moderniser. While mayor of Istanbul, he was imprisoned for inciting religious hatred by reciting these words at a rally:
The mosques are our barracks,
The domes our helmets,
The minarets our bayonets,
And the faithful our soldiers…
This was seen by Turkish judges as a threat to the secularist, Ataturkist -traditions of Turkish democracy. They were quite right. But Erdogan is a patient Islamist who famously compared democracy to a bus ride: when it gets him to where he wants to get to, he will get off. So as he continued his bus ride of elected office, he used his power to tighten his grip and consolidate power behind one party — and one man. He even commissioned a new golden throne to sit on. The putative caliph set about taking Turkey in an all too predictable direction — consolidating power around himself by taking it away from the military and judiciary and stifling domestic dissent whenever he could.
The extent to which Erdogan has been able to take Turkey backwards is a modern tragedy. When corruption allegations emerged around his immediate circle just over two years ago, he swiftly banned YouTube and Twitter, stuffed the ensuing investigatory -commission with members of his own party and dismissed the investigations as a ‘coup attempt’ by people serving ‘foreign powers’. Every time Erdogan and his circle are judged by the normal standards of the law, he responds with such hysterical counter-attacks. And all the time, it was asked: what about EU membership? Didn’t Erdogan worry that his authoritarianism would disqualify him outright?
But he gambled that the EU, for all of its pious words, could be bought off later. Now and again, Brussels tried to wag its finger at Turkey. For example, after one round of judicial meddling, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights wrote that ‘Proposals to curb powers of High Council of Judges and Prosecutors represent a serious setback for the independence of the judiciary in Turkey.’ How Ankara must have quaked.
Erdogan’s upheaval of the judiciary and police continued regardless. In a single night in January 2014, he removed and replaced some 350 police officers. His party gave itself new powers permitting domestic espionage on banks and companies on matters relating to ‘foreign intelligence’. As one political opponent told Erdogan on the floor of parliament (for how long will that be possible?), ‘You want to purge democracy and control the entire system.’ Indeed so.
This has not gone unnoticed by the Turkish people. In 2013, protests against the government spread to 60 cities. But the police crushed them brutally, and laws were later passed to restrict future protests. Since then the government has acted to further crush press freedom and the country regularly tops world league tables for the number of imprisoned journalists. But even this was not enough for the EU to withdraw its offer of Turkish entry. Each year, it published reports listing Erdogan’s various transgressions. And Erdogan treated them first with indifference, then with contempt.
By the end of 2013, Erdogan said he’d take no more lectures from Brussels and that he ‘sincerely expected the EU, which sharply criticises its member countries, should criticise itself and write its own progress report’. In March he seized control of Zaman, until then Turkey’s highest–circulation newspaper. And he has taken action against thousands of citizens for the offence of insulting the president. Last month, a Turkish man was arrested for insulting Erdogan by asking police for directions to the zoo.
While the suppression of freedoms within Turkey is a tragedy, the extension of Erdogan’s repression inside the EU is a -scandal. When a late-night comedy show in Germany pointed to the absurdity of a German law forbidding insults against foreign leaders by attacking Erdogan, Turkey demanded that Berlin acted. Erdogan was calling Angela Merkel to heel. And successfully: she approved prosecution of the offending comedian, with the nod to her critics that the German courts could still find Mr Bohmermann innocent. Which (for now) is just about the only difference between Germany and Turkey.
As Erdogan has worked out, however much Turkey fails to live up to the EU’s expectations, the EU’s attitude to Turkey is ‘ever onwards’. Its 2013 ‘Visa Liberalisation Dialogue’ set out 72 conditions on security, migration, public order, fundamental rights and readmission of irregular migrants that Turkey needed to achieve. Despite failing them, in November last year the EU and Turkey agreed that visa-free travel should start this October. All the time Turkey demanded more and faster.
As well they could. Because last year — after the German Chancellor opened the borders of Europe to anyone who could get here — the tables turned. Persuaded that every problem in the Middle East, Far East, North and Sub-Saharan Africa was Europe’s fault and Europe’s responsibility, millions duly came. And will again. Today, even the European Commission and Frau Merkel realise that in order to avert political catastrophe in Europe, they must bring the number of entrants down. Suddenly, as Erdogan himself said, ‘The European Union needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the European Union.’
Turkey is home to 2.7 million Syrian refugees — a fact which Erdogan is treating like being in possession of a loaded gun. He threatens to send them over the Aegean to Greece, or let them walk through Bulgaria. ‘If the European Union does not take the necessary steps, then Turkey will not implement the agreement,’ he said last month. ‘Some three million people are being fed on our budget. But we are not doing this for thanks.’ Without visa liberalisation for Turks, ‘no one can expect Turkey to adhere to its commitments’, added Ahmet Davutoglu, the Prime Minister.
And so the EU has accepted Turkey’s abominable treatment of Kurds. It has ignored the ongoing illegal occupation of north Cyprus. And it has ignored every single one of its own putative ‘criteria’. In trying to avoid millions more migrants, the EU has opened the doors to 75 million Turks. It’s quite possible that Ergodan doesn’t even want EU membership, that he just enjoys lording it over Europe and showing Turks how he can make a continent (or at least its leaders) quiver. Now Europe is behaving like a man so fearful of death that he chooses to commit suicide.
And what of Britain’s role in all this? Shortly after becoming Prime Minister in 2010, David Cameron went to Ankara and announced that he would do everything he could to ensure Turkey entered the EU. Speaking as a guest of Erdogan, Cameron announced: ‘Turkey deserves its place at the top table of European politics — and that is what I will fight for. I will remain your strongest possible advocate for EU membership and for greater influence.’
Our Prime Minister has been true to his word. Even while Erdogan’s government has done everything it could to demonstrate why it has no place in the EU, Cameron has insisted on extending the borders of Europe to Syria and Iraq. Only a few months ago in the Commons, he reconfirmed his government’s commitment to Turkish entry. Of course, now that the referendum is upon him, he says that it doesn’t matter what he thinks because the French will not allow Turkey to join. This puts the British Prime Minister in the strange position of citing the French government as the only force capable of saving him from his own views.
In private, Erdogan must be amazed at just how much he can wrangle. The worse his behaviour, the greater his clout in Europe. He can send German police to arrest German comedians whose jokes he dislikes. He can instruct the EU to delay its ‘progress reports’ on Turkey to a time that better suits his electoral purposes. A few weeks ago, a leaked transcript of a conversation showed Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, pleading Erdogan to consider that ‘we have treated you like a prince in Brussels’.
Erdogan, prince of Europe: quite a title to confer upon a wretched Islamist bully who regards refugees as human bargaining chips and stands poised to destroy our continent. Nevertheless he is someone who has at least established — and shown the world — just how the EU works.