Aangeleverd door: Ed Vries
The Turkish government has dismissed calls by EU foreign policy chief Federica Morgherini for restraint in the escalating row,
saying that such appeals were «worthless». Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan double-downed on his invective attacks
by labelling German Chancellor Angela Merkel a «supporter of terrorism».
Earlier, Erdogan and several of his government ministers had slammed the Netherlands and Germany as «Nazi remnants» and «fascists».
Both Dutch prime minister and Germany’s Merkel responded angrily, denouncing Ankara’s inflammatory rhetoric and demanding an apology.
Erdogan then went even further with inflammatory rhetoric. He accused Dutch UN peacekeepers of complicity in the Srebrenica massacre
in 1995, when some 8,000 Bosnian muslim men were killed by Serb forces.
So for the staunch Islamist and autocratic Erdogan to label the EU as «fascist» is like the pot calling the kettle black.
Netherlands prime minister Mark Rutte said: «Dutch public spaces are not the place for other countries’ political campaigns.» His view was echoed
by leaders in Germany, Denmark and Austria, as well as France’s National Front presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, and the European Parliament’s
vice president Alexander Graff Lambsdorff.
On this score, it is hard to disagree with the EU ban on the Turkish political rallies. Such foreign political intrusion is an unimaginable infringement on
national sovereignty that would not be tolerated by Turkey nor most other countries.
This is partly why one surmises that Erdogan has deliberately contrived a confrontation on the issue. Knowing that such a provocative move on his part
would be met with antagonism from European authorities, which in turn can be portrayed by Erdogan in a patriotic and religious cause.
Nonetheless, on both sides it is a carnival of reactionary politics with deep-seated complicity.
On the Turkish side, Erdogan wants to accrue more authoritarian powers at home partly because of the military quagmire he has created from regime-change
intrigues against Syria. Erdogan’s subterfuge in Syria to oust the government of President Bashar al Assad has involved covert sponsorship of Islamist terror
groups, against whom he now says he needs extra powers for his presidency to combat against. Well, if Erdogan hadn’t fomented the monster of terrorism
haunting his country in the first place, then he wouldn’t be in a position of requiring greater presidential powers.
Also, let’s not forget that Turkish military forces have been fighting on Syrian territory since last August. This is a blatant violation of international law and an
aggression against Syrian sovereignty. Again, the charge made by Erdogan denouncing European governments as «fascist» is richly absurd.
On the European side too it is fraught with reactionary contradictions pointing to its own grave complicity. The public apprehension over immigration and Islamism
are major issues driving the rise of populist political parties who are mounting campaigns that are undermining the European Union.
This week in the Netherlands’ general election, the anti-Islamist, anti-immigration, anti-EU Freedom Party (PVV) of Geert Wilders did not win an outright victory
over the incumbent center-right ruling party of Mark Rutte (VVD). Nonetheless, Wilders’ party did reportedly make a significant gain in parliamentary seats, increasing
its quota by nearly a third.
The same dynamic is operating behind Britain’s historic Brexit departure from the EU and in the surge in support for Le Pen in France and similar parties in Germany,
Austria, Italy, Denmark, Slovakia, Hungary and elsewhere.
This partly explains why European governments under pressure from the populist opposition are compelled to take an even tougher line on the Turkish political rallies.
As in Holland, it is feared that the issue is garnering support for the populist parties.
But the bigger picture here is that the European governments and the EU bloc are complicit in stoking the immigration crisis from their support for illegal wars in Syria
and across the Middle East. Britain and France in particular have been key players in abetting Washington’s agenda of illegal regime-change wars in Afghanistan, Iraq,
Libya, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.
The whole disastrous mess corroding the EU and its entanglement with a reckless Turkey is a plague on both their houses.