Teflon Erdogan

Keghart.org, Editorial, 22 December 2020

An incorrigible student who picks fights regularly is dismissed. If an adult commits a violent crime, he or she is jailed. If a state attacks another for no reason, it is condemned, ostracized, sanctioned, and might be even invaded. There’s an exception to this logical and traditional sequence. The exception is Turkey, or more precisely, the almost-dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sultan manqué.

Teflon Erdogan is impervious to the universal law which upholds retribution. Erdogan has insulted, threatened, interfered or attacked Iraq, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Armenia, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Egypt, Yazidis, the UAE, Kurds in Turkey and in Syria, Lebanese Armenians, and has supported Islamist Hamas. He has made life difficult for many of his European NATO allies. The United States, the godfather of Turkey hasn’t been spared Erdogan’s vituperation. In mid-December, one of  Erdogan’s senior advisors (Mast Hakka Cain) promised to drown U.S troops in the Aegean Sea just as Mustafa Kemal had drowned 100,000 Greeks and an unknown number of Armenians at the burning (by arsonist Kemal) of Smyrna/Izmir in 1922.

Putting aside Erdogan’s hegemonic fantasies in the Middle East where Europeans have vital geostrategic and trade interests, let’s scan the length of Erdogan’s European rap sheet. Why has the West been timid in its reaction to bellicose Erdogan litany of intemperate acts and language? Here’s a précis of the trademark Erdogan insults and threats to Europe and its leaders.

AUSTRIA:

—“Austrian policy is leading to a crusade-crescent war. The steps taken by this Austrian are leading the world towards it. They say they are going to kick our clergy out. Do you think you’ll do it and we will stand idle? We will do something too.” He called Austrians “Nazis” for shutting extremist mosques and expelling their imams.

BELGIUM

—When Brussels allowed Kurds to pitch tents in the city during an EU conference, Erdogan criticized Belgium and said: “As long as you let these rags fly you will keep hearing these [harsh] remarks from us.”

EUROPE

—-“If Europe continues its attitude, no European and no Westerner will be able to walk safely or peacefully in the street.”

—“If you open this dangerous road, you will be the ones to be exposed to the greatest damage.”

—“The EU has never acted honestly or kept its promises.”

—“You are fascists in the true meaning of the word. You are veritably in the Nazi chain.”

—“Fascism is not in our book. It’s in your book.”

—“Europeans can’t be trusted.”

—Erdogan criticized EU move to enforce Libyan arms embargo.

—“Hey EU, wake up. I say it again: if you try to frame our operation there as invasion, our task is simple. We will open our doors and send 3.6 million migrants to you.

FRANCE:

—Erdogan whipped up Muslim hatred against President Emmanuel Macron and called for an Islamic boycott of French products.

—Erdogan said Macron needed his head examined.

—“France has lost its way. I hope France will get rid of Macron as soon as possible. Macron is trouble for France. With Macron, France is passing through a very very dangerous period.”

—“The French should dump their leader or otherwise they will not be able to get rid of yellow vests…yellow vests could later turn into red vests.” [He didn’t elaborate on what he meant by “red vests.”]

—“If they [the French] love Armenians so much, then they should give Marseille to them.”

GERMANY:

—Erdogan said Germans were Nazis for not allowing his party to campaign for votes among Turks living in Germany.

—“Social Democrats, Christian Democrats, the Green Party, are all enemies of Turkey.”

—Erdogan accused Chancellor Angela Merkel of being a crypto Nazi.

—Erdogan criticized Germany for allowing “PKK supporters” into Germany.

—Germany and Turkey traded barbs when a Turkish freight ship was searched by an EU military mission in the Mediterranean aimed at enforcing the Libyan arms embargo. Ankara called it illegal.

GREECE:

—Mehmet Tsavoysoglu, Erdogan’s advisor, attacked Greece for having “maximalist ambitions.” A classic example of accusing someone of what one is guilty of.

—Turkish planes and ships continue to penetrate Greek skies and waters at will.

—Erdogan’s defense minister threatened Turkey could overrun Greece in three hours.

HOLLAND:

—Erdogan insulted Dutch PM Mark Rutte because Dutch soldiers had failed to stop a Muslim massacre in Bosnia twenty-five years earlier.

SWEDEN:                                                                                                                              —Turkey took a swipe at Sweden’s foreign minister and Stockholm’s policies when Sweden criticized Turkey for curbing freedom of expression.

SWITZERLAND:                                                                                                                 —Erdogan criticized Switzerland over a mass meeting of the members and sympathizers of “PKK” in Bern, the capital.

The UK, Italy, and Spain have been spared Erdogan’s vile tongue because they are major trading partners. Italy’s annual exchange of goods with Turkey is around $15 billion. As well, Spain and Italy hold huge debts of Turkey in their banks. They would lose everything if Turkey’s economy collapsed. Turkey owes $64 billion to Spanish banks, $21 billion to Italian banks and $24 billion to French bank for a total of $109 billion. Turkey’s reserves dropped below $100 billion recently.

In addition to the above undiplomatic language, Erdogan also threatened Europe with a flood of illegal immigrants. As a result of the blackmail, the EU is handing Turkey several billions of Euros a year for the upkeep of the refugees. While Turkey complains the refugees are a burden, nobody points out that the refugee problem is an outcome of the Syrian war which was engineered by Erdogan. No one mentions minimum-wage refugees are a boon to near-bankrupt Turkey. Erdogan has also urged European Muslims not to assimilate.

UNITED STATES:                                                                                                                           Turkey’s godfather, defender, sponsor, facilitator, and enabler U.S was also subjected to Erdogan’s verbal whip. Earlier this year, when disagreement between the U.S. and Turkey flared because of Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, Erdogan said: “The U.S. doesn’t know who it’s dealing with. Turkey is not a tribal state that can be pushed around…” When President Trump sent him a cautionary but friendly “Dear Recep” letter, Erdogan tossed the letter in the garbage bin and made no effort to ban the reporting of his act by his sheep-like media.

Why Does Erdogan Get a Pass?

Considering the above tension between Turkey and Europe/U.S, why do Europe and America handle Erdogan with kid gloves? Why were the delayed sanctions on Turkey earlier this month like being slapped by a wet Kleenex? Why does Turkey continue its provocative actions in the eastern Mediterranean looking for hydrocarbons in waters which don’t belong to it? Why does the West’s response to Turkey have all the punch of Mr. Charmin?

Turkey stretches on the geostrategically important Asia Minor with access to three seas … Its army is the second-largest in NATO … European diplomats say: “We don’t want to push Turkey into the arms of Russia.”… Other European diplomats hope Erdogan’s days are numbered … Turkey offers Europeans a big market for their exports … Italy and Spain are the second- and third-largest suppliers of weapons to Turkey, after the U.S. The gas/oil pipeline passes through Turkey … Europeans fear Erdogan can cause strife in Europe using millions of Turkish and other Muslim immigrants … The EU is hamstrung by disunity, lack of strategy and stultifying bureaucracy … The EU was split into two factions re the recent sanctions on Turkey: France, Greece, Cyprus, and Austria wanted tough measures while Germany, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, and Malta were conciliatory … Europeans have opted for the sybaritic/epicurean life … Patriotism is passé and war is not for sophisticated and civilized people … Europe’s small armies are in no mood to restart the Ottoman vs. Europe wars of the 16th century … Cowardly and cowering Europe can’t order Turkish ships to leave the waters of Greek Cyprus …Trade: recently, it was revealed that most of the important parts of “Turkey’s” Bayraktar drones were imported from Austria, Germany, Britain, Belgium, in addition to Canada and the U.S. At least nine (Garmin, MilesTek, Viasat, Trimble, Eringer, Comant, Wescam, Hengst, and XILINX) American companies provided parts for the “Turkish” drones.

Turkey is broke. Yet, Erdogan spends like a drunken sailor, thanks to financial support from Qatar and Azerbaijan. For how long will Turks tolerate the economic downward spiral? How long will rampant Erdogan’s mad routine last?

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