Would Turkey leaving the West be the end of the world? Yes says columnist

Turkey risks losing its foreign policy importance if it gives up its status as a democracy engaged with the West, columnist Nevşin Mengü wrote in the leftist BirGün newspaper.

“Would breaking from the West be the end of the world?” she asked. “I swear it would be.”

Mengü depicted a Turkey that had left NATO trying to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin and suddenly realising the benefits of being protected by the alliance.

“Turkey is valuable to the West as an engaged democracy, the part of the West that is furthest east … not as an introverted autocracy,” she said.

Mengü said the hunt for followers of exile preacher Fethullah Gülen after the failed July 15, 2016 coup had turned into the targeting of all those who were not “Erdoğanists” – partisans of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“Every type of objection, every type of opposition is stigmatised as not being anti-Erdoğan, but anti-Turkey,” she said. “The work of everyone and every organisation that is not Erdoğanist will be very difficult from now on in Turkey.”