This is an extension to a post I first wrote on The Shell Gallery blog 6 days ago.
Vladimir Putin and Recep Erdogan. A dangerous mix, which puts Europe
in mortal danger. On April 16th, the Turks will vote in a referendum to
afford the Turkish presidents sweeping powers which would turn his
presidency into an autocracy. Erdogan is pulling out all the stops to
get the diaspora to vote as well, some 5 million strong. His ministers
are travelling the length and breadth of Europe - and we saw what
happened in Rotterdam. It was thoroughly disconcerting to
see the mass of flag-waving Turks in the city, turning to rioting when
their minister was sent away. And some militants claiming that the city
of Rotterdam will soon be theirs.
It has been suggested
that Erdogan wishes to reinstate the Caliphate, which ruled Turkey
until 1924. He could just as easily wish to reinstate the Ottoman
Empire, which (at one point) reached as far as Vienna in the 17th
century. What does that remind you of?
He wishes to reinstate the Russian Federation to within the borders of
the old USSR, abolished in 1991. He also wishes to extend his sway to
the whole of Europe, made easier by US president Donald Trump. He is not
too bothered about Europe, and Putin knows that.
Erdogan gets his new powers, he could just as easily foment trouble in
the Turkish communities in Europe, setting off civil unrest if not
worse. Erdogan could cancel the migrant deal, that has stopped the flow
of migrants from Syria and other places across the Aegean Sea into
Greece and the EU. Hundreds of thousands would come across, causing
further instability in Europe. And, with Donald Trump not really minding
what happens in Europe, Vladimir Putin could march in to restore
stability on Russia's borders. In Ukraine. In Poland. In Germany. In
Holland. In the United Kingdom, where Brexit will loosen the ties to
continental Europe, where Sturgeon's Scotland seeks to secede.
Why does Putin have this chance, you may well ask. Because after the abortive coup in Ankara in July last year, Western leaders were very reluctant to congratulate him. The Dutch foreign ministerwas actually among the first to call his Turkish counterpart at the time. So, Putin saw his chance. It is often argued that Turkey has so much to lose in a conflict with Europe. Erdogan may calculate that he has more to gain through being Putin's puppet than through being in NATO or friendly with the EU.
is one other angle on this. If there is conflict between Europe and
Turkey, this also means a schism in the NATO alliance. Should this
really come to pass, then Putin will have achieved his aims. We should
be very worried - if Erdogan gets the majority of Turks to vote Evet. Yes.