The West – the EU and the US – is writing off Turkey’s Erdogan

In December 2013, Cecilia Malmström, the then Member of the European Commission in charge of Home Affairs (second from left) visited Turkey. (in the 1st row, from left to right) Ahmet Davutoğlu, the then Turkish Foreign Minister, Malmström, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the then Turkish Prime Minister, Bekir Bozdağ, the then Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Egemen Bağış, the then Turkish Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator for Turkey's accession negotiations with the EU, and Zafer Çağlayan, the then Turkish Minister for Economy. Seeing it in retrospect Malmström’s advice to respect media freedom, free expression and judicial independence didn't pay any dividends. Erdogan had it its own way. (EU Commission Audiovisual Services, 16/12/2013, Location: Ankara – Parliament).

In December 2013, Cecilia Malmström, the then Member of the European Commission in charge of Home Affairs (second from left) visited Turkey. (in the 1st row, from left to right) Ahmet Davutoğlu, the then Turkish Foreign Minister, Malmström, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the then Turkish Prime Minister, Bekir Bozdağ, the then Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Egemen Bağış, the then Turkish Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator for Turkey’s accession negotiations with the EU, and Zafer Çağlayan, the then Turkish Minister for Economy. Seeing it in retrospect Malmström’s advice to respect media freedom, free expression and judicial independence didn’t pay any dividends. Erdogan had it its own way. (EU Commission Audiovisual Services, 16/12/2013, Location: Ankara – Parliament).

For the first time in the history of the EU-Turkish relations the European Parliament openly and loudly welcomed last week the heavy losses of the governing party in a general election. The MEPs actually rejoiced on “the most inclusive and representative parliament in Turkish modern history, reflecting the country’s diversity”, forgetting that it’s a hang legislative and cannot produce a viable government. They stopped short of saying they are happy that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plan to secure his clout on the country for many more years was irrevocably destroyed.

The Press release issued by the EU legislators says clearly that the MEPs “urge Turkey to respect media freedom, free expression and judicial independence and welcome the recent parliamentary elections”. The word ‘result’ is easily meant in the last sentence of this quote. As for the MEPs’ ‘advice’ to Turkey to respect “media freedom, free expression and judicial independence”, there was nothing more eloquent for the Turkish President – who had just failed to become a real Sultan – to realize that his time is up. Let’s follow the facts.

The 7 June end of Erdogan’s rule

On Sunday 7 June the Islamo-conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP), a creation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, despite coming fist lost the absolute majority in a legislative election after thirteen years of uncontested rule. This came as a blow to its leaders who had hoped to win a majority large enough not only to form a single party government but more so, to change the Constitution and turn the country into a Presidential republic. Erdogan’s rule could be extended only in this way. For this to happen though the AKP had to elect 330 deputies in a 550 seat Parliament. It won just 258 seats.

Erdogan has been governing the country as Prime Minister and leader of the AKP from 2002 to 2014. Last year due to statutory reasons he had to turn to the Presidency, a quite ceremonial position, and assigned the leadership of the party and the prime ministership to his then foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu, a devoted and trusted follower. Obviously, Erdogan felt quite uneasy in his new and rather just ceremonial post and looked forward to change the constitution and again become the absolute ruler of the country as it was the case for at least a decade now, this time as President. His plan had a time horizon for many years to come, but an important constitutional change was needed. Fortunately or regrettably, the Turkish voters didn’t do him this favour, fearing he may become a modern day Sultan. They even denied the AKP an absolute majority.

The Kurdish party

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) a Kurdish, center left and minorities party recently created by Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag made the difference. The new party first appeared in the Presidential election of 2014 authentically expressing the Kurdish minority. Its twin leadership though managed to also appeal to minorities, the women of the western looking part of the population and to those who feared that Erdogan was about to become an absolute ruler. Many analysts in Turkey say that (HDP) was also helped in the 7 June election by the win of the left wing SYRIZA in neighboring Greece.

Finally HDP managed not only to cross the 10% threshold and enter the Parliament but also won 13.1% of the vote and elected 80 deputies in the 550 seats house. It was exactly what AKP lost. In previous legislative elections the Turkish Kurds had voted for Erdogan; not this time. The reason was the latest animosities of Ankara against the Kurds in neighboring Syria. The heroic resistance and win of the Syrian Kurds in the battle of Kobani – aided by the U.S.-led coalition airstrikes – against the Islamic State (ISIS) murderous forces last year galvanized the Kurdish sentiment also in Turkey.

The battle of Kobani

The battle of Kobani, a Kurdish town in Syria just some hundreds of meters from the Turkish border, became first page news all over the world for weeks. All along that time Ankara stayed ‘impartial’, enraging the Kurdish population at home. Actually, deadly fighting took place also in the Turkish side of the border between Kurds and various Turkish military units. The battle and the Kurdish victory in Kobani must have plaid a decisive role in the subsequent developments involving the US and EU foreign policies towards Turkey and the Middle East in general.

Kurds in Syria and Iraq have proved themselves to be a reliable and effective ally for the West in this crucial region. At the same time Turkey and Erdogan, its absolute leader until 7 June and still a central player, appeared to be major impediments for the US and EU strategy in the region. Ankara remained attached to the Islamophil (Sunni) forces in the Middle East and actually accused the West of undermining Turkey’s internal stability. The West has never accepted Erdogan’s continuous slippage towards a kind of Muslim conservatism if not totalitarianism away from Turkey’s secular tradition. Erdogan personally is currently malevolent towards Egypt’s secular President el-Sisi and still supports the deposed (Muslim Brotherhood) President Mohamed Morsi. Not to say anything about Turkey’s aggressiveness towards Israel.

Kurds win, Erdogan loses

All those developments have created a negative wave against Erdogan. The Turkish Kurds, the country’s westward looking parts of the population (coastal areas and Istanbul) plus religious sects like the alawites and other minorities, are becoming all the time increasingly challenging of his choices. His strong adherence to the Sunni Islamic forces in the wider region made him unattractive and fearsome to all those parts of the population. Undoubtedly the West has now a strong base within the country to contest Erdogan.

The Sunday’s 7 June electoral result is the epitome of all that, signaling the end of Erdogan’s era. As for the US and the EU, Erdogan has now become a ‘necessary’ nuisance to be addressed in force ‘occasione data’. That’s why the EU Parliament went as far as to hail the losses of the governing party in the 7 June elections. The relevant resolution of the MEPs, approved by 432 votes to 94, with 127 abstentions says clearly “the elections demonstrated the resilience of Turkish democracy and the democratic spirit of its citizens and welcomes the most inclusive and representative parliament in Turkish modern history, reflecting the country’s diversity”.

Translating it briefly the MEPs say here that the Turkish democracy wants Erdogan out. Europe doesn’t seem to care much if the hung Parliament the election produced in Ankara cannot turn out a viable government. Europe, probably, and undoubtedly the US too, are celebrating the disorder in the Turkish political scenery.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Brexit: when the hubris of one man can set the UK, the EU and the entire world on fire

Happens now in Brussels: Green Week sets the EU and global climate policy agenda

Why Eurozone can afford spending for growth

Irish Presidency: Not a euro more for EU budgets

Bundesbank’s President Weidmann criticises France and the EU. Credibility at risk?

COP21 Breaking News_07 December: “The world is expecting more from you than half-measures”, UN Secretary General Bank Ki-moon cries out from Paris

Brussels wins game and match in Ukraine no matter the electoral results

Tackling youth unemployment through the eyes of a European entrepreneur

Eurozone plans return to growth

Can the next financial crisis be avoided?

Cédric in India

Draghi keeps the euro cheap, helps debt refinancing, recapitalization of banks and growth

EU: 13 major banks may pay fines 10% of worldwide turnover

Scotland and First Minister Salmond enter the most challenging battlefield for independence: Europe

Sanctions on Russia to be the biggest unity test at this European Council

EU to gain the most from the agreement with Iran

The EU Commission is lying to the “Right2Water” campaign

Campaign kicks off with High-level Event on #FairInternships

Cloud computing under scrutiny in the EU?

Ukraine: turning challenges into opportunities


Look Mom, even the House of Lords says the #righttobeforgotten is not right

A very good morning in European markets

Eurozone closer to a deflation – stagnation trap

A Sting Exclusive: EU Commissioner Mimica looks at how the private sector can better deliver for international development

Recession: the best argument for growth

Me and China

JADE visits Lithuanian Junior Initiatives

Migration crisis update: lack of solidarity not only among EU leaders but also EU officials

France pushes UK to stay and Germany to pay

Germany to help China in trade disputes with Brussels

The creative technology and its advancements

The Eurogroup offered a cold reception to IMF’s director for Europe

Apparently the EU Digital Single Market passes necessarily from China’s Digital Silk Road

Do you dare to go to China?

Tsipras doesn’t seem to have learned his “almost Grexit” lesson and Greece faces again financial and political dead end

EU to spend €135.5 billion in 2014 or 6.5% less than this year

Will the end of QE come along with ECB’s inflation target?

“Who do I call if I want to call Europe?” Finally a name and a number to answer Henry Kissinger’s question

Berlin repels proposal for cheaper euro

EU citizens disenchanted with Economic and Monetary Union over rising poverty and high unemployment

Dutch voters reject EU-Ukraine partnership and open a new pandora’s box for the EU

On Youth Education: “Just a normal day in the life of a medical student”

Fighting for minds of youth in Latvia

European banking stress tests 2014: A more adverse approach for a shorter banking sector

Intel @ MWC14: Our Love Story with Mobile – Transforming Wireless Networks

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “There is a communication issue (about China) which markets don’t like” Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of IMF stresses from Davos

Back to the basics for the EU: Investment equals Growth

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

The completion of the European Banking Union attracts billions of new capital for Eurozone banks

Regional policies slowed down by EU bureaucracy

Warmongers ready to chew what is left of social protection spending

Commission threatens Chinese firms with trade penalties

Is there a drug for every disease?

EU agrees on Ukraine – Georgia visa-free travel amid veto risks and populist fears

Eurozone: Even good statistics mean deeper recession

Facebook and Google to treat Europe as the 51st State of the USA

JADE Spring Meeting 2015: a step forward for Youth Entrepreneurship

Draghi left alone with no hope of boosting EU growth as Merkel just focuses on next elections

Turkey to let EU alone struggle with the migrant crisis while enhancing its economic ties with Russia instead?

Hollande protects the euro from the attacks of extremists

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s