May 08 2018

Brussels loves Turkey’s Erdoğan - columnist

The standard pro-government narrative in Turkey is that shadowy Western powers are constantly seeking to undermine the Turkish government, but columnist Nevşin Mengü in Brussels wrote in left-wing newspaper BirGün that that was the last thing on the European Union’s agenda.

As Turkey gears up for presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24, supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have sought to unite the country against what they say is a foreign threat backed by Turkey’s opposition parties.

“As the election approaches, the government narrative is standard: ‘foreign powers have united internal powers in their service and they are trying to overthrow Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,” Mengü said.

“I can tell you from Brussels, where I have just arrived, that the situation is not like that at all. On the contrary, Erdoğan even serves Brussels’ purposes,” she said.

Turkey’s human rights abuses and domestic political circumstances suit very well those Europeans who do not want Turkey to ever become a full member of the European Union, Mengü said: they no longer have to come up with an excuse to keep Turkey out.

The most the European Union ever does to Turkey is to lament the fact that democracy is dying there, she said. Beyond that, trade and diplomacy go on as usual.

Mengü also spoke to a World Bank fund manager who said that Erdoğan made their work easier, because they did not have to deal with the risks inherent in democracy.

“No one should tell the lie that ‘Europe is against the chief’,” she concluded.

“If Brussels had a vote, it would vote for ‘the chief’.”