The British never liked continental Europe. And now, after Brexit, the London press is happy to discuss the problems of the European Union that arise after the presidential elections in Turkey. Just look at “The Telegraph” comment.
Any pretensions the European Union may entertain of being a major power in world affairs have been utterly exposed by the re-election of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as president of Turkey. It was not so long ago, after all, that Brussels was trying to cajole Turkey into becoming a member of the EU. Indeed, the country is still formally regarded as a candidate for accession, even though Ankara has hardly made any progress on implementing the necessary institutional reforms since 2004.
According to Erdogan, Turkey still covets EU membership, with the Turkish leader informing a meeting of EU ambassadors in the Turkish capital last year that EU membership “remains our strategic priority”. The reality, of course, is that while Erdogan is in power, Turkey has about as much chance of joining the bloc as Russia does.
It is not just Erdogan’s increasingly autocratic approach during his 20 years in power, with drastic curbs imposed on parliament, the judiciary and the press, that makes him a pariah. It is his support for the Islamist creed, one that utterly rejects the liberal freedoms espoused by the West, that makes his outlook anathema. This, after all, is a politician who began his campaign for re-election by evoking the 1453 Ottoman conquest of the Byzantine Empire.
Erdogan’s re-election to serve another five-year term, one in which he is likely to expand his autocratic tendencies at the expense of the country’s democratic institutions, certainly provides the EU with a significant challenge, one that seriously calls into question its ambitions to position itself as a soft-power superpower equal in stature to the US and China.
The EU can no longer afford to maintain its ambiguous approach towards Ankara. One moment it is offering massive bribes to stem the tide of illegal migrants flooding into Europe. The next it is denouncing Turkey for its close ties with Russia, an alliance that EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell recently conceded was “a cause for concern”.
For Erdogan, of course, the cosy relationship he enjoys with the Kremlin has been a lifesaver insofar as the Turkish economy is concerned. The economic crisis afflicting Turkey, with inflation currently running above 40 per cent, would be considerably worse were it not for the hordes of Russian tourists flocking to the country to avoid EU sanctions.
Given the EU’s previous hapless record of dealing with Erdogan, few Europeans will have much confidence that the bloc can persuade Ankara to ditch its support for Russia to forge closer ties with Brussels.
…It is just a demonstration of how London is waiting for the collapse of the European Union, in order to increase its influence on at least part of the countries of the European continent. While the EU stands, Britain will not be able to realize this plan, but with the possible collapse of the European Union, the Anglo-Saxons will immediately increase their own dominance in the region.
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