No point in EU trying with Erdoğan – opinion

There is no point in the European Union’s political leadership trying to mend fences with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a summit in Varna, Bulgaria on Monday as the two sides strategic aims differ too much, Simon Waldman, a fellow at the Istanbul Policy Centre said in an opinion piece in Haaretz newspaper.

Europe sees threats from Islamic State (ISIS) and refugee inflows from Syria, while Turkey is focused on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its affiliates in Syria and Iraq, as well as the Gulenist movement in Europe and the United States, which it blames for an attempted coup in 2016 and of being a terrorist organisation, said Waldman, who is also author of the New Turkey and its Discontents (Oxford University Press, 2017).

Europe also can’t compete with Russian President Vladimir Putin for Turkey’s favours as Putin supplies the country with nuclear technology and air defence missiles that aren’t compatible with NATO systems, he said.

EU leaders heaviliy criticised the Erdoğan government last week for its human rights record, aggressive postures towards Greece and Cyprus, including blocking exploration of natural gas off the Mediterranean island, and its invasion of Syria in January to battle an affiliate of the PKK.