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Turkey

Turkey And Europe, Time To Take Erdogan To Task

The Turkish president is using Europe to stoke nationalist sentiment back at home before a referendum to expand his own powers. Enough is enough.

Turkish protesters in Amsterdam on March 13
Turkish protesters in Amsterdam on March 13
Yves Thréard

-OpEd-

PARIS — There is, of course, a serious measure of calculation in the recent posture and remarks of Recep Tayyip Erdogan aimed at European leaders. On April 16, the Turkish head of state will be asking his people to vote, in a referendum, to extend his presidential powers. With that goal in mind, there was no more efficient strategy to rally them to his cause than to fan the nationalist flame and galvanize voters by naming an enemy.

The choice of Europe was an obvious one, as most governments on the Old Continent — with the notable exception of our French one (how lucid and brave!?) — have rightfully refused over the past few days to host referendum rallies for Erdogan's AKP party, in the presence of some of his ministers who had specially come for the occasion to appear before Turkish expat voters.

A relationship imbued with hypocrisy, lies and intimidation.

Erdogan's charge against the Netherlands, which he branded "Nazi remnants," was also anything but random. The far-right party of anti-Islam candidate Geert Wilders, who's in favor of banning the Koran and mosques on Dutch soil, is riding high ahead of what is set to be disputed national elections Wednesday.

Beyond that, this incident is one in a long series of serious missteps in a relationship imbued with hypocrisy, lies and intimidation between a weak Europe and an imperious Turkey. The official opening of negotiations for Turkey to join the European Union, in 2004, was bound to only bring tension and crises.

How can we imagine that the peoples of Europe would have accepted this prospect — especially without being consulted — and tolerate such a cultural, religious shock to our continental union? Most governments have since acknowledged this truth, but it came too late and in a disorderly fashion. In the meantime, the rise to power of Erdogan's AKP and its supposedly "moderate" Islam did nothing to allay these fears.

On top of the authoritarian and Islamic drift came Turkey's blackmail regarding the issue of migrants. The country regularly threatens to let them pass through, thus breaking the commitment it made, clinched in exchange for several billion euros paid by the European Union. We urgently need to reevaluate the relations between Ankara and Brussels and put an end to this dangerous fool's game.

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Geopolitics

Modi Is Wrong: Russia's War Also Creates Real Risks For India

By shrugging aside Russia’s aggression, India has shown indifference to fears that China could follow Russia’s example.

Photo of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi Visits Russia

Anita Inder Singh*

-OpEd-

NEW DELHI — India is wrong to dismiss Russia’s war in Ukraine as Europe’s problem. The illegality and destructiveness of the invasion, and consequential food and energy crises, have global ramifications.

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This explains why 143 out of the 193 member-states of the UN General Assembly voted against recognizing Russia’s illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions after holding sham referenda there. Ninety-three voted in favor of expelling Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.

India has abstained from every vote in the UN condemning Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. The reason? Moscow is India’s top arms supplier and some 70% of India’s military platforms are of Russian origin.

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