Column: Europe captive to jealousy and racism, Turkey the victim

İlnur ÇevikBy: İLNUR ÇEVIK*

The events of Saturday clearly show that Europe is facing a crisis of ‘deterioration and destruction of sacred supreme values’ that have made the continent a hub of civilization in modern history

They are jealous because they have failed to prevent the rise of Turkey as a star in its region. They are also gripped in racism that manifests itself as xenophobia and Islamophobia that is also mainly directed against Turks in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium and spreading to other parts of the continent as far as Sweden. The events of Saturday show clearly that Europe is facing a crisis of “deterioration and destruction of sacred supreme values” that have made the continent a hub of civilization in modern history.

The Netherlands prevented the flight of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to this country by closing its airspace to his plane and thus trying to stop him from addressing Turks who were assembled outside the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam. To add insult to injury the Dutch authorities then took Turkish Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya into custody and then expelled her from the country. She had managed to reach Rotterdam via Germany to address the crowd at the consulate but was prevented by a wall of police only 30 meters from her destination. She and her entourage were taken from their cars and sent to Germany. The Dutch police charged the peaceful crowd with dogs and mounted policemen.

So a NATO country prevented the minister of another NATO country from flying into its territory, then detained the minister of the same allied country and threw her out to a neighboring state. Doesn’t that sound awful? But that is exactly what happened.

It is clear that the a coalition of countries led by Germany are extremely unhappy with Turkey becoming a rising star under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and have tried everything to stall it including supporting a military coup, but have failed. So now they are trying to support a “no” vote in the upcoming referendum where Turks will vote on whether or not to accept constitutional changes that will usher Turkey into a presidential system of administration. They are trying to prevent Turkish cabinet ministers from addressing massive Turkish crowds in Europe. While the Germans are doing this in a subtle manner, the Dutch have messed it up and now look like fools in view of the developments on Saturday.

Added to this is the rise of racism in Europe that surfaces as an anti-Turkish wave, especially in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

The fact that the Dutch will hold their elections next week is alarming as this rising wave of fascism, xenophobia and Islamophobia could help the racist Geert Wilder, who tweeted, “go away and never come back and take all your Turkish fans with you,” as Dutch police were detaining our minister and expelling her from the Netherlands. Judging from the dreadful events of Saturday it is clear that the Dutch government has already surrendered to Geert Wilder and his mentality.

All this means that the Netherlands and the European Union will face very tough times in the future even without Turkey’s tough reactions that are inevitable after Saturday’s events.

What is sad is that Turkey is the victim of European misgivings and shortsightedness.


*İLNUR ÇEVIK is a Turkish columnist. He writes for Daily Sabah Turkish newspaper.

(Published in Daily Sabah on Monday, March 13, 2017)