Turkey becomes dominant force in eastern Mediterranean, says ex-Chancellor
Celal ÖZCAN – BERLIN
Germany’s former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder stated in his latest book “Letzte Chance” (The Last Chance) that Turkey has become an “incontrovertible dominant force” in the eastern Mediterranean.
“Europe should accept the fact that Turkey became a dominant force in the eastern Mediterranean. Whether they like this or not,” said the 77-year-old ex-chancellor in the book he wrote with Gregor Schöllgen, a history professor lecturing at the universities of New York, Oxford and London.
Stressing the need for new world order, Schröder picked a special part for Turkey, China and Russia in his book.
“A new world order, that we need, is a last chance for the West. Turkey, China and Russia are important actors in world politics. The West will lose if they act to these countries with the mentality of the Cold War,” Schröder noted.
Reminding the history of the Turkey-EU relations, the former Chancellor highlighted the “mistakes of the Europeans.”
“The contrast with Turkey and the West is the result of the European Union’s wrong politics. We Europeans, especially the Germans, saw this country [Turkey] and its citizens with a humiliating and pretentious manner,” he added.
Schröder underlined that Germany was the only country in the EU that wanted Turkey as a member of the bloc.
“Since the Ankara Agreement in 1963, no other country than Germany opened an EU membership perspective to Turkey. But except the last era of the [Social Democratic Party of Germany] SPD-Greens coalition, none of them were frank [to Turkey],” he said.
According to Schröder, Europe’s “delaying tactics” for Turkey’s EU membership is inadmissible. “Asking Turkey to fulfill the conditions for the visa liberalization and delaying the important improvements at EU membership negotiations at the same means saying, ‘We do not want you.’”
“If you [West] condemn Turkey for its presence and fighting in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh, then you should not pay Turkey to stop the migrants who come from warzones to enter Europe. This policy does not get on well with the West [which does not exist anymore] and its virtues, that it utters from time to time.”
“Thinking that a new government that would come to power after [Turkish President] Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will review the country’s global politics and give up being a force in the eastern Mediterranean, is just ‘not knowing the chalk from cheese.’ Turkey will not do this.”
Schröder, who was the chancellor of Germany between 1998 and 2005, remarks on the latest developments in Syria in his book.
The war in Syria cannot be finished without Ankara’s and Moscow’s consents. Turkey has a key role in Syria, he said.
“As the problems in Ukraine cannot be solved without Putin, it is hard to end the migration crisis without Erdoğan. The era of Turkish ministers and presidents standing in waiting rooms of Bonn or Berlin under humiliating circumstances is over,” he added.
The Social Democrat also pointed to the former U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats to “crackdown Turkey’s economy.”
Erdoğan coldly met the threat, Schrider noted and listed the reasons.
“Firstly U.S. army is dependent on the İncirlik and Kürecik bases. Secondly, Turkey has now a notable weapon industry. They produce and sell their own unmanned aerial vehicles. Ankara’s weapon industry and some countries’ dependence on these weapons make Turkey approach to its target of being a force in the eastern Mediterranean.”
Schröder, a social democrat, is currently an advisor for Rothschild Investment Bank and the chairman of the German football club Hannover 96.