#ResistEU Merkel’s move to leave Turkish democrats alone

#ResistEU Merkel’s move to leave Turkish democrats alone

A few months ago, a European diplomat had asked why nobody took to the streets if there was so much discontent with the plans to redesign Taksim. Neither I nor any other colleagues were able to give a satisfactory answer.

After seeing thousands taking to the streets, I wonder whether that diplomat was the “foreign forces,” trying to steer up Turkey.

Any joke aside; Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is not the only one giving credit to conspiracy theories in Turkey. The older generations among the protestors are also very fond of them. In the early days, people started talking about Washington’s decision to finally “scrap” Erdoğan. Numerous statements coming from Washington criticizing the Turkish government’s reaction to demonstrators and CNN international’s nonstop live coverage of the police crackdown on Gezi on June 11 led some to conclude that the United States would like to see Justice and Development Party (AKP) gone.

I am no longer wasting my breath trying to explain that the United States is not in a position to make or un-make governments especially in Turkey, which is not a banana republic. Even if we were to believe in the U.S.’s omnipotence, one has to see that the AKP still remains the best interlocutor in Turkey as Washington will certainly not prefer to deal with the inconsistencies and inabilities of the Republican People’s Party (CHP).

But the new conspiracy scenario voiced by some of the protestors is now completely in contrast to the first one. Washington apparently wants to support Ankara against the demonstrators. The fact that Washington decided to arm Syrian rebels after stating that its red line about the use of chemical weapons had been crossed, is intended to divert attention and the sudden lack of interest from CNN international (indeed the news channel went mute on Saturday when police entered Gezi park) was not a coincidence; according to some.

Most probably, the young generations, which make up the bulk of the protestors, are not really prone to these theories. Actually their radars must be turned toward European capitals rather than Washington. After all, they must know that being a functioning democracy with full respect to fundamental freedoms is not a prerequisite to be an ally of the U.S.; but it is to be a member of European Union.

The message coming from Brussels this week will therefore be highly important for them and all of Turkey’s democrats.

It seems that German Prime Minister Angela Merkel wants to delay Turkey’s accession talks to the EU, using Ankara’s crackdown on demonstrations as an alibi. Following a three-year halt, Turkey was scheduled to open a negotiation chapter by the end of this month. The German Foreign Minister confirmed the possibility that there could be a delay “due to technical” difficulties. But Turkish officials are convinced that this is all about Merkel and the German elections in autumn.

A decision to delay this month talks will not help the cause of the demonstrators that took to the street demanding more freedom. On the contrary it will play into the hands of Erdoğan in manipulating its constituency about “evil foreign forces.”

Turkey’s real friends in Europe should resist Merkel’s highly damaging intentions.