The Turkish President Recep Erdogan has unleashed invective against the Dutch specifically and in general against the EU as a whole, as relations between Europe and Turkey crash to an all time low. Prior to the recent Dutch elections the Turkish government attempted to interfere with the sovereign rights of the Dutch electoral process by actively electioneering for the Erdogan administration, in another Sovereign State’s territory.
Erdogan demanded that Holland open itself up to the Turkish electoral process by allowing electioneering by the Turkish ‘firebrand’ Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, and access to campaign in Holland amongst Dutch resident Turkish citizens. Such an outrageous demand by a foreign power galvanised the normally quiescent Dutch administration into a response. They absolutely forbad Turkish campaigning in Holland, and backed up that rejection by banning Cavusoglu’s entry into The Netherlands.
This ban immediately triggered Erdogan into a tirade against Holland which rapidly grew into a hate-fest against the whole of Europe. The old chesnuts regarding the ban on Islamist headscarfs and associated head and body coverings, because of their inflammatory cultural/political connotations roared back, with Erdogan inflammatory rhetoric, in the Turkish daily Hurriyet, suggesting a return to the Crusades and a ” struggle between Cross and Crescent”. <http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/headscarf-ruling-touches-off-battle-between-cross-crescent-president-erdogan-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=110893&NewsCatID=510>. The Turkish President then upped the ante by accusing the EU of reverting to a Nazi type ‘spirit of Fascism’ roaming the streets of European capitals.
Not to be outdone the excluded Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu, engaged in a most undiplomatic outburst about how a Jihad Holy War would soon engulf the whole of Europe. <http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-fm-warns-of-holy-wars-in-europe-in-remarks-on-dutch-elections–.aspx?pageID=238&nID=110874&NewsCatID=510> .
Once the dust had settled and the Dutch elections were over, Cavusoglu rejoined the overheated rhetoric with, … “When you look at the many parties you see there is no difference between the social democrats and fascist [Geert] Wilders. All have the same mentality. Where will you go? Where are you taking Europe? You have begun to collapse Europe. You are dragging Europe into the abyss. Holy wars will soon begin in Europe.”
Whilst the rest of the European leaders were congratulating the Dutch Prime Minister for successfully seeing off the challenge from Geert Wilders, the leader of the right wing Freedom Party, Cavusoglu and Erdogan took to thumbing their noses at the Netherlands, taunting re-elected Prime Minister Mark Rutte: “O Rutte! You may have been first in the elections, but you have lost a friend like Turkey.” Newly re-elected PM Rutte must have thought, ‘with friends’ like these who needs enemies.’
Erdogan continued, “there is no such prime minister here – give it up, you have lost” after Rutte, understandably, declined an invitation from Erdofan and Cavusoglu to dine with them and receive a further personal tirade of hatful rhetoric.
Erdogan’s undiplomatic language is symptomatic of his current tentative grasp on power, as he lurches hard fascist right, into a potentially sharia compliant Islamic State in Turkey. By purging most of his opponents, within the former Turkish secular administration, Erdogan appears to be emboldened, however he must know that he has generated a serious groundswell of opposition against his administration. His ‘attack dog’, Foreign Minister Cavusoglu is playing to the semi-literate tailings in the Eastern electorate hinterlands of Turkey, who epitomise the current move towards a single party Islamist State and away from a secular NATO ally.
Threatening the EU with Jihad Holy War and suggesting that Turkey will flood Europe with millions more displaced Syrians and other Islamic populations, appears to show Erdogan’s true face. Threatening to scuttle Turkey’s migrant readmission agreement with the European Union and demanding more ‘Danegeld’ reparations from Europe is classic extortion writ large.
The faux coup d’etat of 2016 in Turkey, using the pretext of a ‘Gullan plot’ against the Turkish State, has swept away much of the expertise and experience within the Turkish Armed Forces, Bureaucracy and Courts. It has also relegated any hope of Turkish admission to the EU moot, for the foreseeable future. Erdogan’s dream of a neo-Ottomon empire appears to have reverted to the back burner for now, as the Assad Regime slowly regains power over Syria. This realpolitik from Erdogan is reflected in his apparent rapprochement with both Russia and Israel. Faced with a shocked EU, a traditionally hostile Arab Saudi Arabia on his doorstep, a galvanised Kurdish threat to his Southern Borders, and a challenge from a Shi’a, soon to be nuclear, Iran, Erdogan needs all the allies he can get.
Expect the Erdogan Administration to turn inward over the next few years as he bolsters his internal grip on power. Erdogan must be feeling vulnerable as his reconstituted ‘allies’ have had recent experience of Erdogan’s capriciousness and he must question just how much support he might actually get from them.