Tayyip Erdogan: A Ripple Across Europe

By Priya Kankanhalli, ’19

The rift between Turkey and the rest of Europe continues to expand with a flair in sociopolitical tensions. Most recently peaking at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s accusation that Nazism is still a prominent sentiment in Germany and the Netherlands, the international feud has resulted in Turkey’s informal exile. If rivalries continue at this pace, Europe will experience severe economic, social, and political reverberations.

Protests in Turkey

Turkey’s own contribution to the increasing chaos lies in its desire to redesign its presidency, broadening the scope of the role in lawmaking procedures. Consequently, several European countries that find themselves cast as venues for Mr. Erdogan’s rallies are presented with an ultimatum: to allow the candidate to enter and therein support him or to restrict his entry and fuel the animosity. The European Union has expressed its disapproval weeks ago, claiming that a constitutional referendum to strengthen the presidency would likely be harmful to the nation’s status.

The Turkish campaign conflict saw concrete origins in Germany, as Germany prevented Turkish ministers from entering the nation. Chancellor Angela Merkel vocalizes her disappointment with the accusatory speech, which, undoubtedly, revives Germany’s harsh history. Also, the Dutch people are typically open-minded and tend towards the non-confrontational side of the spectrum. However, given the current elections, in which immigration and integration are hotly debated issues, they are forced to take stronger stances on international affairs. Unfortunately for Turkish citizens, this has manifested in a growing segregation. The implications to the Turkish community within the Netherlands are arguably worse; those residents must live amidst the ill will.

April 16 will witness the momentous voting on the referendum: yes or no to an intensified Turkish presidency under Recep Tayyup Erdogan. It is possible that Mr. Erdogan’s strategy is to inflame nationalist voters and cultivate passion in his cause through extreme measures. With the Nationalist Movement Party, Turkey’s fourth-largest political group, already pledged to Mr. Erdogan, his efforts are fruitful to a certain degree. While the verdict that this day will bring is still unclear, it is likely in Europe’s best interest to abide by the status quo. Turkish President Erdogan would be wise to heal broken relations and restore Turkey’s positioning within Europe, yet, this is an idealist perception as well. Compromise seems improbable, and only time will reveal the stability of the continent





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