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Europeans will pay the price for their mistakes

33 0 0
20.03.2017

The outlook for Europe is grim. As the European Union strays away from its core values and populism wreaks havoc throughout the continent.

Optimists who would like to pretend that last week's Dutch election marked a defeat for Geert Wilders and his merry band of racists are dead wrong. Mr. Wilders may have failed to lead the polls, but his ideas certainly made an impact on European politics. Desperately seeking to cling to power, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte showed complete disregard for universal values. Like Mr. Wilders himself, Mr. Rutte built his election campaign around xenophobia. In addition to making hostile statements about Turkey, he denied landing rights to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and prevented Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya from entering the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam. While a Turkish minister and her close advisers were treated like terrorists, the mayor of Rotterdam announced that the special forces, which had been deployed to the Turkish consulate, had orders to shoot Kaya's personal bodyguards. To add insult to injury, the Dutch government violated the Vienna Convention to detain Turkish diplomats. The whole episode proved that the Dutch government would arbitrarily restrict the liberties of a NATO ally's officials instead of respecting the rule of law.

The pre-election spat with Turkey gave Mr. Rutte what he wanted all along. According to exit polls, 34 percent of the incumbent's supporters voted for him because they approved his Turkey policy. In other words, the fact that Mr. Wilders failed to win the election is immaterial. At the end of the day, millions of Dutch voters sided with racism.

And how did the European Union respond to this disturbing situation? Did they stick to their principles and call for justice? Did European leaders condemn the Dutch government for violating the Vienna Convention and betraying their values? Of course not. Instead, the Europeans urged Turkey and the Netherlands to de-escalate the crisis, whilst refraining from issuing warnings to the Dutch government. Here's why they went along with this reckless act of aggression: The European Union, like Mr. Rutte, succumbed to the populist storm. Having failed to get over Brexit and fears of disintegration, the EU leadership opted to ignore a blatant violation of the law instead of pissing off the Dutch. In other........

© Daily Sabah