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Let's admit it – Turkey is an enemy state

Friday, November 25, 2016 4:23
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The Greeks of course have never really trusted successive Turkish governments. And with little help from either the EU, which claims to protect Europe but doesn’t, or from fellow NATO members, one of the poorest nations in Europe is one of the few to maintain adequate military resources. With a neighbour like Turkey, the Greeks must have felt, you never know. 

How much of the promised €3bn Danegeld have the EU already paid over? What’s the UK’s share of the losses? The ransom was extorted on the promise that Turkey would hold back a tsunami of economic migrants from Greek shores, but that was before Erdogan revealed himself, post coup, as a modern General Franco.

Already, a score or more of the most senior military officers arrested following the coup attempt have died in jail in mysterious circumstances. Typhus, no doubt. Or heart attacks. Franco was also very experienced at disappearing thousands of dangerous democrats, people who had won elections and those who stood for the rule of law and democracy. Erdogan’s tyranny has been so blatant, so outrageous, that even the purblind fools in Brussels could no longer ignore it; media closed, journalists arrested, courts purged. Erdogan’s reaction has been a petulant tantrum; the EU had already stalled on his earlier ultimatum to allow Turks open travel in the Schengen area, now this week they have voted to suspend accession talks.

For the EU, the game is complex. Austria’s presidential election on the 4th December may be determined by the status of Turkish visitors; if the EU announce the visa-free measures before the election, it is suggested that Norbert Hofer, who supports an EU membership referendum in Austria, will win. They were hoping to string it out until after 4th December, but now the game has upped the ante. 

This is a far more nuanced matter than the bare facts allow. I know, in London, many fine and upright citizens who are first or second generation Turks, from Cyprus or from the mainland. They run the vast majority of our kebab shops and are the backbone of Uber drivers at the basic level, but also contribute greatly to culture, society, arts, business and trade. Turkey becoming an enemy will leave many fine people dreadfully conflicted – though none I know would support Erdogan’s repression. 

However, if Erdogan opens his border, I see few options other than confrontation and potential conflict. If HMS Beyonce can arrange a tow to the Med with her broken engine, and if Iraq can spare our three fighter aircraft with their Unique Tiny Missiles, I recommend we consider sending them to Greece.


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