This is not the Europe we want to live in
Cameron appeals to EU-reform doubters at home and abroad

 

Turkish President Erdoğan: I can’t condemn the Islamic State for shooting down the Russian airplane as it is the natural outcome of Putin’s support for Assad,

According to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has raised eyebrows around the world capitals by justifying ISIS terrorists who brought down a Russian passenger plane in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula early saturday, killing all 224 people aboard.

“The Russian airplanes are targeting Mujahidin in Syria and partisans fighting to topple Syrian dictator Assad. In Syria, Moscow seeks to tip the balance on the ground against our brethren. Consequently, there should be no surprise if Islamic State take revenge,” Dubai TV cited the Turkish official as saying.

Having been isolated internationally for his obstinate support for hard-line Islamist rebels in Syria, the 61-year-old President Erdoğan expressed his refusal to condemn Ansar Bait al-Maqdis—infamous Sinai-based jihadist group whose members swore allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) — for targeting Kogalymavia Flight 9268, killing 217 passengers including 17 children.

“How can I condemn the Islamic State for shooting down a Russian plane as its passengers were returning from a happy vacation in a time when our co-religionists in Syria are bombed by Putin’s fighter jets? …it is the natural outcome of Moscow’s actions in Syria and the support for Assad,” said Erdoğan, adding, Turkey will continue to advocate the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and ousted ex-President Morsi in Egypt.

A few days earlier, Recep Tayyip Erdogan received Merkel pompously, but their meeting was held in a former Ottoman setting in Istanbul instead of his new notorious palace in the capital, Ankara. To remind her of past Ottoman grandeur — or perhaps to remind himself that he is the heir of the glorious Ottoman sultans — Erdogan had Merkel sit next to him, each of them in gilded armchairs embellished with kitsch pseudo-imperial decorations.

That picture contrasted sharply with the plainness of Merkel’s recent reception of Erdogan in Berlin, where they sat on simple chairs.

The EU and particularly Merkel have been bewildered in the face of the endless flood of Syrian and other Middle Eastern-Muslim refugees pouring through the gates of “Fortress Europe.” And Turkey could be a formidable gatekeeper.

Erdogan, a clever politician who has been cold-shouldered by the Europeans for some time, will naturally extract the most favorable outcome from the crisis for his ambitions. He has proved himself to be a good horse trader, and any support he might be asked for would not come for free.

Merkel’s visit was seen by the German media, and the Western press in general, as a gift to Erdogan on the eve of the snap elections Nov. 1. Erdogan hoped to regain the majority for his Justice and Development Party (AKP) that it lost in the June elections. And the outcome proved that he was right.

Another gift to Erdogan is the delayed release of the annual European Commission Progress Report on Turkey. The report was to be issued Oct. 19, but its publication has been delayed indefinitely. The reason is obvious: its content is expected to be critical of the Turkish government’s violations of freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

Only 48 hours before Merkel’s visit, EU leaders hastily met in Brussels to adopt an “action plan” for Merkel to present to Turkey. The plan calls for raising financial aid from 1 billion euros to 3 billion euros for Turkey’s role as EU border guard.

The EU leaders, and the “first among equals” Merkel, seem so desperate that they are ready to present the compromises they had declined during Erdogan’s visit to Brussels only a few weeks ago.

Turkey is not really enthusiastic to relieve the burden on Europeans despite the 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) in aid, as that amount is too little and too late as Erdogan has already said.

Merkel’s actions indicated that Erdogan’s horse-trading tactics could wring even more concessions from the ever-desperate Europeans. Erdogan will not deliver until he bends the Europeans more to his favor.

This is not the Europe we want to live in
Cameron appeals to EU-reform doubters at home and abroad

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