Turkey’s ‘doorman complex’

Turkey’s ‘doorman complex’

The photo featured happy faces – Turkish and European. Last week, three EU bigwigs were in Ankara: Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign affairs chief; Johannes Hahn, a chief enlargement official; and Christos Stylianides, commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management. The happy-faced trio was seen with two Turkish happy faces: Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and EU Minister Volkan Bozkır.

Literally impressed by the “family picture,” Mr. Bozkır called on the EU to “make visible” the dialogue between Ankara and Brussels by “inviting Turkish leaders to EU meetings and taking them into EU family photographs.”

After examining the smiling faces in the family picture, this columnist wrote in the Gatestone Institute’s journal (“Turkey and EU: The Kodak-Moment,” Dec. 14, 2014): “The truth is, Turkey’s longer-than-half-a-century journey to full EU membership offers volumes of thick picture books full of similar smiling faces, most of them no longer alive. But both the club and the applicant know that Turkey has been dragged planets away from the EU in terms of culture and socio-politics. Turkey is too un-European in political culture; sometimes even hostile to Europe.”

“Only a week before the EU bigwigs arrived in Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused western [Christian] states of ‘not liking us [Muslims],’ for ‘loving oil, gold, diamonds, and the cheap labor force of the Islamic world,’ and for ‘wanting us [Muslims] dead and liking seeing our children die.’

“The EU cannot slam the door in Turkey’s face for many geopolitical reasons … While the Europeans wasted their time in self-deception – that Turkey’s Islamists were in fact pro-EU, post-Islamists reformers – Turkey was implementing a plan to turn into, not a member of, but a Muslim challenge to, what its leaders privately view as a hostile ‘Christendom.’

“Turkey under Islamist rule has keenly pretended that it wants EU membership, while in reality deeply disliking its ‘Christian’ culture; and the EU leaders have pretended that Turkey would one day join the club, while knowing that it would not.”

But the play-acting goes on at full speed. Less than a week after the “Kodak-moment,” the EU would accuse Turkey of violating press freedom by arresting journalists; a move the EU said was incompatible with European values. Two happy faces of the “family picture,” Ms. Mogherini and Mr. Hahn said any move toward membership depended on “full respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights.”

More heartbreakingly, Ms. Mogherini said she was very surprised by Erdoğan’s reaction “so soon after constructive talks with the Turkish government.” And as always, this columnist is very surprised by Ms. Mogherini’s (or her countless predecessors’) self-deception.

Dear Ms. Mogherini; if in the evening of Dec. 17 you typed “EU Turkey Surprise” and searched, Google would give you 1,270 million results. And Google would be very surprised by the fact that you were surprised. Why not hire Google as an advisor before you visit Ankara next time?

Apparently, Ms. Mogherini was surprised because President Erdoğan had said that: “The EU should mind its own business and keep its opinion to itself.”

And that: “We have no concern about what the EU might say, whether the EU accepts us or not.”

And that: “The EU has no right to give Turkey a democracy lesson … Take the trouble to come here, so that Turkey can give you a lesson in democracy … Turkey will never be the EU’s doorman.”

Perhaps the “doorman complex” explains what sounds so surprising to Ms. Mogherini – and large swathes of European intelligentsia.

It is the doorman complex: The unbearable heaviness, for proud Muslims, of having to knock on the doors of a Christian civilization for half a century, with no good omen in sight yet. It is the torments of an inner journey between pragmatism and the reality of being kept at the door of “those who want to see us and our children die.”

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had a point about recalling his predecessor’s joke, Viktor Chernomyrdin who once was asked by a journalist when Ukraine could join the EU. “After Turkey,” he replied. When should we expect Turkey to become a member, asked the journalist: “Never,” he replied.