Mon Apr 19th, 2021 at 06:26:45 PM EST
Coming back to the infamous "sofagate" incident after two weeks, there are still a couple of points that look important and are worth pointing out.
First, cui bono? There are good arguments that the snub wasn't deliberate because (1) Erdogan had nothing to gain from humiliating VDL and the EU, and (2) Turkey wanted to cool down the relations that had gone quite tense with EU countries like Greece or Cyprus (or even France), and discuss more concrete things like customs union, which is very important for Turkey. The former Turkey ambassador to the EU blames the faux-pas on "on inexperience and a lack of institutional memory on both sides."
Then again, the opposite view is that Erdogan did humiliate the EU because he could and would never do that to, say, Merkel. In any case, there could have been a mixture of both, actually.
Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger
Second, the cynical view: we shouldn't forget the fact that Europe is actually very dependent on Turkey; I mean all European countries, not only the EU as an institution.
Why? EU countries have been paying Turkey a lot of money (6 billion) to essentially keep the "brown hordes" from moving to Europe in even greater numbers. Turkey has received millions of Syrian refugees on its soil, more than all European countries. Even if the Syrians in Turkey are enduring a lot of discrimination and abuse from unscrupulous employers, the uncomfortable fact remains that Erdogan's regime has essentially blocked further immigration to Europe.
OK, some EU countries, like Germany, have accepted a lot of migrants, and, in proportion to their population, the Scandinavian countries have received an even greater number, but many countries in central Europe have adamantly refused to tarnish their white Christian identity and refused to accept any refugee from the Middle East. All these thinly veiled white supremacists are also the first to express their reprobation, when Erdogan (a Muslim man!) looks like he's taking the EU down a peg or two.
In the wake of Sofagate, there has been also much tut-tutting over Turkey's announced withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, that very few people knew about before, let alone had bothered to read: yet another opportunity to point the finger at a bad Muslim. Of course, very few comments pointed out that many EU countries didn't sign that convention, in the name of family values and Christian values.
The question is not really whether the EU wants to be taken seriously or not: it should start with whether the EU member countries want to take the EU seriously; given the cacophony and contradictions over a lot of international policy issues - not only immigration, there is quite some work on the table.