The authoritarian and strategic turn of Turkey calls for the EU to develop a new diplomatic strategy toward Turkey and the growing influence of Turkey in the Balkans cannot be ignored, said an article published by TransConflict on Saturday in EuroAsia Review.
According to the authors, Gilles Pargneaux, Alon Ben-Meir, and Arbana Xharra, Ankara’s alliance with Moscow and Tehran and the summit held between the leaders of three countries in Ankara in early April, a platform Erdoğan uses to project himself as the “leader of the Muslim world”, sends a clear message to the West, excluding it in the process of conflict resolution in Syria.
The authoritarian regime Erdoğan cemented after the coup attempt in 2016, the changes in the Turkish constitution and the use of Islam as Turkey’s new national identity, and the shift from the policy of “zero problems with neighbors” to the policy of problems with every neighbor are also worrisome developments from the perspective of the authors.
“The authoritarian and strategic turn of Turkey calls for the EU to develop a new diplomatic strategy toward Turkey. Under Erdogan’s leadership, Turkey obviously is no longer what it was hoped to be—a model of Islamic democracy that meets the principal requirements of the EU,” the authors said. They also advised that Turkey’s EU accession process should end and that the EU should not expand its commercial ties with Turkey unless human rights are fully respected in Turkey.
“The growing influence of Turkey in the Balkans cannot be ignored, where Turkey is systematically entrenching itself by increasing its commercial and cultural presence. The arrest of six Gülen-affiliated Turks residing in Kosovo on March 29, the detention of Greek border guards to force the extradition of the Turkish military, the Turkish promotion of Islamic studies, and the building of new or the rehabilitation of old mosques in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania, and Serbia represent the latest avatars of this neo-Ottoman influence, tinged with political Islam, from Turkey to Europe,” according to the authors.