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    Clipping Erdogan’s wings by Jk Latest News

     Clipping Erdogan’s wings


    Clipping Erdogan’s wings by Jk Latest News
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    By HANY GHORABA

    This year has marked the beginning of the end of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regional ambitions as well as the end of his political honeymoon with Europe

    In a year that has witnessed a lot of 

    political changes, Turkish Presi-

    dent Recep Tayyip Erdogan has 

    also had much better years in his 

    long political career. This year’s 

    events have not only brought Erdo-

    gan’s megalomaniac ambitions in 

    the Mediterranean and the Middle 

    East to a halt but may also have wit-

    nessed the end of his honeymoon 

    with Europe as well. 


    The EU has finally answered 

    French, Greek and Cypriot calls to 

    take a stand against the Turkish 

    president’s provocative actions in 

    the region and the destabilisation 

    that has followed them with its ripple 

    effects on the Old Continent’s stabil-

    ity. 


    After nearly two years of delibera-

    tion and debate, the EU has sent an 

    ultimatum to the Turkish president 

    demanding that he stop his provoca-

    tive actions in the Mediterranean, 

    especially against EU members 

    Greece and Cyprus, and his political 

    feud with France. Sanctions against 

    Turkey have been postponed by the 

    EU several times, with these being 

    seen as a last resort because of the 

    strong economic ties between the EU 

    and Turkey. Erdogan had earlier per-

    ceived the European hesitation as 

    a form of weakness or inability to 

    carry out serious sanctions against 

    the Turkish state.


    But on 19 November during a tele-

    conference among EU foreign minis-

    ters, it was decided that the EU would 

    take more severe measures against 

    Turkey during the next EU summit 

    to be held on 10-11 December. 

    The date was set after a series of 

    provocations by Erdogan last week, 

    the latest of which was his visit to 

    occupied Northern Cyprus where he 

    delivered a speech. Erdogan called 

    for peace talks with the parties in 

    the Cyprus confl ict and for what he 

    called a “two-state” solution. This 

    has been categorically rejected by 

    all the parties, however, including 

    the United Nations. The aim of a uni-

    fi ed Cyprus has been clearly estab-

    lished in diplomatic discussions 

    worldwide.


    The provocative visit put the 

    nearly five-decade-old conflict in 

    Cyprus back in the news headlines 

    and was met by disdain from Euro-

    pean leaders as well as by protests 

    even by some Turkish Cypriots 

    themselves. The protesters fear that 

    Erdogan is wagering their future 

    and involving them in his political, 

    if not soon to be military, confl icts. 

    Many of the protesters believe that 

    their future lies in the reunifi ca-

    tion of Cyrus. Northern Cyprus is 

    only recognised by Turkey and no 

    other country as a separate state that 

    declared its independence nine years 

    after the Turkish invasion in 1974 

    that took control of nearly 38 per cent 

    of the island.

    Clipping Erdogan’s wings

    The conflict and the Turk-

    ish involvement in Cyprus have 

    remained issues that have prevented 

    the acceptance of Turkey as a member 

    of the EU. And the recent visit to the 

    island by Erdogan seems to have 

    been a straw that has broken the 

    camel’s back. In response, EU High 

    Representative for Foreign Affairs 

    Josep Borell said that “we consider 

    the recent actions and statements by 

    Turkey related to Cyprus contrary to 

    the United Nations resolutions and 

    further igniting tensions.” 

    Should the EU sanctions against 

    Turkey to be discussed in December 

    be implemented, they will become 

    the latest blow to the already ailing 

    Turkish economy, which had a trade 

    balance with the EU amounting to 

    138 billion Euros in 2018. Restricting 

    Turkish exports to the EU will send 

    a message to the Turkish regime that 

    its days of getting away with murder 

    are over. 


    Furthermore, Turkish radical 

    groups across Europe are being 

    hunted down at present, with the 

    notorious ultranationalist Turkish 

    group the Grey Wolves being a partic-

    ular target. The Grey Wolves, estab-

    lished in 1968, have been involved in 

    a number of terrorist attacks, assas-

    sinations and high-profi le attempted 

    assassinations, including on former 

    Roman Catholic pope John Paul 

    II in 1981 by Mohamed Ali Agca, a 

    member of the group.

    The group is characterised by its 

    mix of ultranationalist ideology and 

    radical Islamist beliefs. It is believed 

    to be a militant wing of the Turkish 

    Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), 

    which is a close ally of Erdogan’s Jus-

    tice and Development Party (AKP). 

    Other similar groups targeted by EU 

    countries such as Germany include 

    the German Democratic Idealist 

    Turkish Associations Federation 

    (ADUTDF) and the European Turk-

    ish-Islamic Cultural Associations 

    Union (ATIB).

    Clipping Erdogan’s wings

    France and Austria have already 

    banned the Grey Wolves, while the 

    German Bundestag is mulling taking 

    similar action. The group has long 

    been a pro-Erdogan militant Turk-

    ish group in Europe, referred to by 

    observers as “Erdogan’s European 

    guard”. Even so, many European 

    countries have looked the other way 

    when it has come to the Grey Wolves’ 

    criminal and terrorist record, even 

    though the group has targeted Turk-

    ish dissidents in Europe and particu-

    larly the Kurds. The latter have been 

    massacred by the Grey Wolves, for 

    example in the Maras massacre in 

    1978 when up to 185 Kurds were killed 

    and up to 3,000 more injured. Euro-

    pean governments are now paying 

    the price for overlooking the menace 

    posed by such groups.

    Clipping Erdogan’s wings

    Erdogan now presents one of the 

    most bizarre diplomatic situations 

    for the EU since its inception, as it is 

    now faced with a fellow NATO ally 

    and a potential member taking hos-

    tile action against it. The situation is 

    quite different from that presented by 

    Russia. Russia, as the successor state 

    of the former Soviet Union, has been 

    on a collision course with the Euro-

    pean powers since the 17th century. 

    It was a reliable ally during World 

    War II, when it was instrumental in 

    winning the war against the Axis 

    powers. However, the expansionist 

    ambitions of Stalin that followed and 

    the establishment of client states 

    and puppet regimes across Eastern 

    Europe led to decades of confl ict that 

    remained in effect even after the fall 

    of the former Soviet Union. 

    Erdogan’s tomfoolery is becoming 

    increasingly irritating to many, and 

    thanks to EU complacency he appar-

    ently feels he has the upper hand in 

    controlling the pace of EU-Turkish 

    relations and can dictate whatever 

    he wants and EU leaders will even-

    tually comply. Should they not do 

    so, Erdogan has threatened to raise 

    the issues of refugees in the Eastern 

    Mediterranean, or the importance of 

    Turkey in NATO, or to start cosying 

    up to the Russians.


    His latest comments about Europe 

    show that he is now trying to mend 

    relations with the EU provided that 

    it complies with his demands on 

    Cyprus and his illegal exploration 

    for gas in the Mediterranean. Erdo-

    gan said this week that the Turks 

    do not see themselves as anywhere 

    else but in Europe. The statement 

    is bizarre, however, since less than 

    a month ago Erdogan was accusing 

    several European leaders, includ-

    ing French President Emmanuel 

    Macron, of being the descendants of 

    “mass-murdering colonialists” who 

    should not tell Turkey what to do.

    He said in October that Muslims 

    were being treated in Europe like 

    the Jews were 80 years ago and that 

    “Islamophobia” is a cancer that was 

    spreading on the continent. But he 

    has since shifted his rhetoric to 

    appease the Europeans, and now 

    he wishes his country to join this 

    group of “mass-murdering colonial-

    ists and Islamophobes,” as he has 

    called them. 

    Clipping Erdogan’s wings

    Europe, the Middle East and the 

    Mediterranean, not to mention coun-

    tries such as Armenia, have long paid 

    a high price to appease the Turkish 

    tyrant, and the end result has been 

    waves of terrorism, extremism and 

    instability in many countries in the 

    region. If the Europeans do not live 

    up to their promise of sanctioning 

    the Erdogan regime this December, 

    the price may be much higher in the 

    form of a military confl ict that will be 

    the natural result of years of political 

    complacency. 


    It is high time that Europe sends a 

    message to Erdogan in the hope that 

    this will avoid wars that could still 

    be triggered by the Turkish tyrant 

    at some time in the future.

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