For a sales agent, it is a success if she sells a fridge in South Pole. Similarly for Erdogan, the success that will outlast him is gate crashing the EU during his stay in the half-a-billion-pound White Palace in Ankara, banishing its 30 times smaller White House to shame.
Inclusion of Turkey in the EU is not but realization of the vision of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who fought modern Turkey off from the hands of Ottoman caliphs and returned it to its real owner, who did not need to invoke the divine to reclaim what was theirs.
NY Times reported that Ataturk told them: “My people are going to learn the principles of democracy, the dictates of truth and the teachings of science… Superstition must go. Let them worship as they will; every man can follow his own conscience provided it does not interfere with sane reason or bid him act against the liberty of his fellow men.”
Andrew Mango, author of “Ataturk: The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey,” said that Ataturk “accepted religion as a social fact, but he had no time for it.” But Europe resisted appeals of his followers for entry into the Union. It landed Turkey in the hands of Erdogan who effectively rolled back Kemalism and scared the Turks into obedience to him and his family a la the divine kings of Turkey of yore.
He scares the masses of Kurds. Corruption. Neighbors. His opponents. And if nothing is handy, of the unseen. The whole world has seen how he effectively put gags on Turkish people in the name of security. As if the media gags were not enough, he went on to tell women to give birth to more children in the worst of bizarre manners.
Thousands of people have been incarcerated or convicted of blaspheming him or his family members. Silence of the world on this scare mongering encouraged him to seek a legal action against a German satirist and Chancellor Angela Merkel let him do it in the name of “rule of law”.
Merkel was already in hot waters for her stance on migrants in the Europe. In each EU country, migrants and policies about them have been creating ripples through almost all walks of life. ISIS terrorists and sympathizers sneaked into European capitals in the guise of migrants and refugees via Turkey in the majority cases that have gained prominence.
When they unleashed hell on their surroundings, Europeans went up in the arms. They were and are scared of this religious-driven mayhem and Erdogan was there to reap what he had sown. He told a bewildered Europe that he can stop what he had started – the fast flow to migrants from Turkey to Europe. As with every commodity in the market, he also needed quick bucks plus the entrance to the Union for undoing the scare Europeans are living in.
Frustrated with the efforts to integrate the migrants in German society, Merkel saw Erdogan as a solution to the problem Europe is fast falling into. She backed Erdogan’s demand which at best is blatant blackmail and at worst the fatal blow to the status of the Union as we know it. Either way, Europe should understand that how a man who has brought the flames of terror to his own capital and who has robbed his own people of their rights in the name of security can offer them any solution to the problem in creation of which he has an important role.
The blogger is a PhD candidate in media studies.