Could it be Trexit?

Could it be Trexit?

An awkward question, but can Turkey abandon the European Union? An even more awkward question: Shall Europe put an end to Turkey’s accession process?

Some people must have developed an expertise in making bad jokes. Is it possible for someone to make an exit before entering a particular place in the first place? Does anyone remember when Turkey joined the EU?

 Was it when that “blond beautiful lady” tried to fool the country, as if entering the customs union deal with Europe was indeed some sort of EU accession? Well, despite firework celebrations and extravagant statements, it did not take much for the nation to wake up to the reality that Turkey indeed became the first-ever country that opened up its market to free trade with the club of democracies without actually joining the club. It was a peculiar relationship between a peculiar country and the EU.

Most probably, over the past two decades, the nation must have realized that the customs union was not at all an EU membership and abandoning the customs union most probably will be more biting for us than any pain the European club might suffer.

Well in the middle of the day once, we celebrated with fireworks the country’s EU membership, assuming that getting a date for the accession talks showed full membership was around the corner. It took years to actually open the talks process, and after so much time, only one of the 35 chapters was provisionally closed, and many chapters are yet to be opened. 

If the almighty, all-powerful, unmerciful, hateful and revengeful Turkish president could not be wrong – and if he was wrong, that was because he wanted it be wrong – Turkey must be leaving something, as he said he would wait until the end of the year and consider putting Trexit to a public vote.

Naturally, Turkey should not and cannot tolerate those opening their arms to nasty people, hosting terrorists at presidential offices and, worst, criticizing Turkey’s steadfast struggle against terrorism. Particularly those terrorists posing as journalists should not be allowed to infiltrate anywhere. After all, are pens and keyboards not worse than arms and bullets? Who cares whether Europe constitutes the biggest market for Turkish exports; we’ll just open up to Mars and Jupiter.

Besides, have we not grown tired of waiting in that waiting room, isolated from all applicants and membership aspirants, for the past six decades? Enough is enough. If Europe is reluctant to bring the Turks in, why would Turkey wait for another 60 years in that depressive room in isolation? 

Turkey’s president is right. If Turkey needs Europe, Europe needs Turkey as well. For Syrian refugees for example, Turkey is the buffer zone before European territories. If Turkey, fed up with the European countries persistently embracing the enemies of the almighty president, decides one day to open the floodgates, can anyone understand the consequences for a refugee-flooded Europe? Can Turkey be expected to host over 3 million refugees and get ready to embrace 2 million to 3 million more just because of the wrong preferences and unholy alliances of some Western states? After all, is Turkey not the “regional power” that only yesterday was the ruler of these lands? Can any state other than Turkey know who is a trustworthy ally and who is not better than Turkey?

If Europe wants to walk down its own road, if Americans insist they know better than Turkey on what to do and how to do in this geography, can the president be wrong in saying that perhaps Turkey should reconsider unshackling itself from the EU’s chains? Well, eyebrows might be raised and arms might be crossed. How could Turkey walk such a road? Since when did Turks question the West?

Jokes aside, such rigid and exaggerated evaluations might be counterproductive. There are natural consequences of every step taken or not taken. Today, Turkey is going through a very difficult period. There is a confused situation in the country. What was the coup? Who staged it? Did it really fail, or was the attempted coup taken hostage and used for another coup? Did Turks salvage their democracy, or did an Islamist mob who took the streets to silence all possible objections clear the way for a dictatorial transformation disguised as “democratic governance in stability?”

Europe might have surrendered to Turkey, fearing that if Turkey opened the refugee floodgates, Europe might face an incredible challenge. What if tomorrow, millions of Turks flood Europe?

In Turkish there is a saying. It is odd perhaps, but reflects the difficult decisions needed to be made nowadays. “It’s easy for a bachelor to talk of getting a divorce,” the saying goes. Indeed, Turkey and Europe parting is possible. It takes an all-powerful leader and a team of shallow ministers to make such a decision. 
What about the day after?

* * *

Nov. 15 was the 33rd anniversary of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Despite all the difficulties, long live the Turkish Cypriot state and all gratitude to founding President Rauf Denktaş and to those who sacrificed their lives for the Turkish Cypriot struggle for a dignified life.