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A Salah for Turkish-European ties

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The “Salah” is an Islamic prayer that is also used also to announce a death. It can be roughly translated as a “death knell” when used in this context. A Salah is clearly being said today for Turkey-EU ties. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel says Turkey has never been this far from EU membership.

True as this is, we still need a pinch of salt. There was little to suggest that Turkey’s membership bid was going anywhere before the present crisis anyway. Chancellor Angela Merkel had said that even if Turkey fulfilled all the prerequisites, membership would still not be guaranteed.

Simply put, the prospect of EU membership stopped being a “carrot” for Turkey a long time ago. What we are in fact discussing today is not Turkish-EU ties, but Turkey’s ties with Europe. These have deteriorated in an unprecedented manner, with the help of acrimonious language from the Turkish leadership that has more to do with burning bridges than diplomacy.

The fact that Ankara has come out against Europe with its populist verbal guns blazing reflects the desperate need by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to get the result it wants from the April 16 referendum to clinch President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s one-man rule.

Ankara has scant, if any, consideration for “the day after the referendum,” when a massive attempt is going to be required to overcome the ill will that has been created between Turkey and Europe.

On the contrary, Erdoğan is now telling expatriate Turks to multiply and alter the demographics of Europe, which he maintains will be theirs in the future. He is not bothered that it will be Turks who have been living and working in Europe for decades who will suffer the consequences of such off-the-cuff remarks.

The long and the short of the matter is that Turkey’s relationship with Europe will never be the same again under Turkey’s present leadership. While there are voices in Europe who support Turkey today to an extent, such as Hungary’s........

© Hürriyet Daily News