probably all heard about the diplomatic scandal between Ankara and
Amsterdam. This conflict, which arose after Dutch authorities
prevented Turkish ministers from campaigning for Erdogan among the
local Turkish diaspora, has already poured over the Netherlands’
borders and could lead to very serious consequences for the entire
did this all start?
will soon hold a referendum that is very important for Erdogan. If he
wins, he’ll gain virtually unlimited power over Turkey. But in
order to win, he needs to enlist the support of the multi-million
Turkish diaspora living in EU countries, a large part of whom have
kept their Turkish passports, and therefore the right to vote.
Erdogan sent his ministers on a promotional tour throughout EU
countries to hold thousands-strong rallies of local Turks who support
Erdogan’s policies. But alas, in Holland, elections were also
scheduled and the Eurosceptic party of Geerd Wilders, who opposes the
Islamization of Europe, had significant chances of winning. For the
Dutch government, a thousands-strong rally of Turks in support of
Erdogan in Amsterdam or any other Dutch city would have been a PR
disaster that would once again demonstrate to voters that the
Netherlands has all but become a Turkish province. It was decided to
avert this catastrophe by preventing the Turkish minister from
entering the country and stopping the diaspora from rallying.
Unauthorized protests were suppressed with the usual cruelty of a
tolerant European country. Dogs and water cannons with cold water
were unleashed on protesters.
clearly could not tolerate such a public humiliation and opted for
retaliatory steps. He stated that the Dutch are “remnants of the
Nazis” and “fascists,” which took the conflict to a new level.
Several European leaders expressed solidarity with Dutch Prime
Minister Rutte, especially Angela Merkel, and Erdogan’s emissaries
started being banned across the EU, as were Turkish rallies.
response, the Turkish President accused Germany of using “Nazi
practices”, which did not win him any sympathy in Berlin. Merkel
stated that the attacks on her were absurd, and stressed that she
would not stoop to such “provocation competitions” initiated by
whole affair might have remained a funny episode in Turkish-European
relations had Ankara not decided to raise the stakes once again.
to the British TV channel ITV, Turkish Vice Prime Minister Numan
Kurtulmus said that Europe has not fulfilled its part of the
agreement on refugees. To recall, the EU and Turkey concluded an
agreement on temporarily freezing the so-called “refugee crisis”
that recently erupted in Europe due to the influx of immigrants from
Middle Eastern countries, many of whom came to Europe through Turkey.
The deal between Erdogan and the European leadership was simple:
Europe would pay money, and Erdogan would not allow refugees into
Europe. If the deal really is broken, this could have very serious
year, elections are being held not only in Holland, but also France
and Germany. If Erdogan really does open the “refugee tap”, then
this would be a serious blow to the electoral prospects of Angela
Merkel’s party and might even raise Marine Le Pen’s chances of
winning in France.
migrant problem is already so acute that if the number of migrants
starts to rapidly grow, then no propaganda or tales of Russian
hackers will impress voters, who are justified in fearing the growth
of ethnic criminality and terrorism, not to mention the huge sums to
be allocated for resettling and maintaining hundreds of thousands or
even millions of new refugees.
situation is complicated by the fact that European countries’
leaderships have simply no plain and quick solutions to solve this
potential crisis. Establishing a secure external border for the EU in
only a few months is impossible. Sending warships to sink refugee
boats off of the Greek coast is possible, but would be a PR disaster
for the EU leadership. And who among European politicians would dare
give such an order leading to the death of hundreds or even thousands
of civilians? Building
processing camps or expelling migrants en masse would create more
problems. Besides the fact that Merkel would once again be accused of
“Nazi practices,” it would be very difficult for her to explain
to Germans why the migrants that have already come to Germany can’t
be sent to these camps and then back where they came from.
turns out that at least until September, when Germany holds
elections, Ankara has the perfect tool for blackmailing the whole EU
leadership. Apparently, for now the agreement with the EU has not
been formally broken and the harsh proclamations on this matter are
not being made by the Turkish leader, but by his subordinates. Thus,
we are witnessing a typical example of diplomatic bargaining.
needs European politicians to apologize in the most humiliating way.
When Turkish voters see that leading European politicians grovel
before Erdogan, his rating will skyrocket. In the very least, Erdogan
is hoping for this, otherwise it would make no sense to abandon the
billions of euros that the EU pays for containing waves of refugees.
problem is that Merkel, Rutte, and other European politicians cannot
afford to lose face and make concessions. They’ve already branded
the Turkish leader a dictator who stifles democracy and doesn't share
European values. The situation is gradually becoming hopeless.
is the chance that the EU will bribe Erdogan this time, but the bribe
would need to be very big and handed over without European voters
knowing, since voters themselves already seriously dislike the
behavior of European politicians. There is also the chance that
Erdogan could hold off only to negotiate for a bigger bribe later.
here we are faced with simply wonderful possibilities.
Turkey drowns Angela Merkel and her party’s electoral chances, then
our relations with the EU could quickly be amended. And if a
catastrophic influx of refugees were to begin in the next few days
and influence the elections in France, then the EU could simply cease
to exist altogether. Based on the foregoing, I hope with all my soul
that the EU leadership and Turkey will start swinging at each other
once and for all. We’ll be just fine.