BY THEODOROS TSAKIRIS
The Turkish experiment in democratization has always been a complicated process. Erdogan, like Menderes in the 1950s, consolidated his power basis in contradiction to the secular kemalist guardians who always elevated the country’s Armed Forces as the true regulators of the Republic.
The big difference between Erdogan and Menderes is that Erdogan used the EU bid as a means of neutralizing the Military’s interventionism. The Generals knew and know that a potential coup d’etat would effectively terminate their country’s bid for EU accession.
As Erdogan consolidated his power and presided over an era of unprecedented economic growth he started to behave with the same level of arrogance that Menderes behaved towards the end of his ten-year term.
Erdogan will only become more aggressive and intractable in the domestic arena where his efforts to resolve the Kurdish issue ended in disarray, but in the absence of a credible alternative he is more likely to continue to consolidate his position and conquer the country’s Presidency.
In the foreign policy area, and Ankara’s relations with Athens and Nicosia, Turkish policies have remained as revisionist and uncompromising as ever. With regards to the Middle East where Ankara is perceived to play a major and positive role by some Europeans, Turkish Foreign Policy has lost almost all influence with the existing governments. Mr. Davutoglou’s “Zero” Problems Policy has managed to isolate Turkey from its former allies.
Turkey is no longer considered as a valuable ally or an honest broker by any of its Middle Eastern neighbors with the exception of the Islamic Brotherhood parties that are on the run everywhere in the region except the Hammas and Islamic Jihad Stronghold of Gaza.
Turkey’s Cold War with Israel continues and its relations with Iran have lost their special character ever since Turkey was forced to -by and large- implement the US/EU oil boycott against Tehran that is crippling the Iranian economy.
Europe has no responsibility for Mr. Erdogan’s excesses. The Acquis Communautaires are not negotiable because they constitute the least common denominator of the European consensus and the Spirit of the Acquis is the very epitome of Europe’s Political Civilization which Erdogan continuously violates.
Turkey always attempted to utilize its geostrategic location and the false pretense of hegemonic influence in the Middle East and the Caucasus to persuade Europeans that it should be exempted from the rules everyone else followed.
There is no Europe a la carte. You need to eat all the menu even if it included spinach whether you like it or not.