News & Views - Nieuws & Meningen

3 March, 2020

Turkey, NATO, the EU and the Refugees

Erdogan's the boss. Why?

Europe has failed!


The agreement made by Turkey and the EU is that Turkey will keep the refugees who want to travel to Europe in their own country for a period of 4 years. The European Union will pay 740 million euros per year to Turkey for this. That is a total of 4.5 billion euros. The moratorium expired last year, 2019.

The European Union would have done well to use this period to clean up the EU immigration laws and make arrangements for the problems on the Greek islands and also in connection with the influx to Italy and other southern European countries. The fact that the EU allowed camps - a kind of favellas - to be built in France near Calais years ago, was bad enough and showed an inability to jointly make the right plans for dealing with the migration crisis.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said "Wir schaffen das" but she said it without ample consulting the other EU-members and without having a plan to receive migrants. In fact, the EU should have built "housing centres" and quickly let the migrants know whether they were eligible to stay in the EU, while at the same time arranging facilities for quick return to the country of origin and making plans to arrange work for those migrants who were allowed to stay, for example by setting up those centres near industries; if manpower was needed, of course. It is important to give work to migrants so that they are not bored and do not cause nuisance so that they the opportunity to settle at the same time. This is a huge task, the scale of which should not be underestimated.

The situation on the island of Lesvos is devastating. Especially for the original inhabitants of Lesbos.
The situation is getting worse day by day.

If this four-year period had been used intelligently by the EU, the suffering of both Europeans and illegal aliens could have been reduced. Europe (the European Union) should have been smart.


Europe has failed!

Europe and NATO should have acted by altering NATO's strategy by eliminating Recep Tayyip Erdogan many years ago by concluding a new, amended agreement with Turkey. But there was and still is too much hesitation. Turkey is the stepping stone to the Middle East. And the European NATO countries as well as America do not want to miss the access and use of Turkish airspace and airports.

When the US wanted to wage war against Iraq, they needed Turkish airspace and airports. NATO member Turkey gave permission. But it took the liberty to take firm action against the Kurds. Maybe Turkey even secretly got permission to do so.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan won the 2002 elections for Turkey's premiership. But initially there was opposition to his winning. Only a year later, in 2003, he was able to take office. Erdogan had higher ambitions and had carefully mapped out and worked on his career.
His goal was to become President of the large country at such a strategic point. He was elected President in 2014.

The inclusion of Turkey in NATO dates back to 1952. NATO needed Turkey then because of its strategic position on the south side of the Sovjet Union. That was the time of 'the cold war'. Greece joined at the same time as Turkey. Greece and Turkey have a history of conflict, they are by no means friends. But their memberships proved significant when problems arose between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Their memberships were also important at a time when the Greeks showed too many communist sympathies and the counter-power of the colonel regime should bring the country back into line. The colonel regime had been initiated and supported by the CIA, as it turned out 25 years later when the documents were made public.

From the beginning when Turkey became a member of NATO, the Turkish army was the guarantee to defend and maintain democracy in Turkey. For it would be a disgrace for the NATO countries if Turkey became a country dominated by Islam or if Turkey became a dictatorship in some other way. If there were tendencies that the Turkish government, president or prime minister or a political group or party would threaten democracy, the army would commit a coup to restore democracy. Wikipedia mentions 5 coups in the period before Erdogan became Prime Minister and later President. The important years are 1960, 1971, and 1980, 1993, and 1997. And who knows how many political manipulations were thwarted or nipped in the bud behind the scenes. Example of the Sledgehammer plan in 2003.


Erdogan wanted to make plans to eliminate the military from the outset. He succeeded. Generals and commanders and those who had not already been charged received lonh prison sentences.
Yet another coup was planned and executed 2016. But the instigators and leaders suffered the same fate: trial and sentencing. Whether the coup of 2016 was really planned by the military leaders who wanted to restore democracy is doubtful. It was claimed that the coup might have been staged by the government led by Erdogan so he had a stick to beat opponents with. There was a thorough purge. Generals, journalists, scientists, judges, governors, etc. and 'simple' employees were suspended from their jobs or even arrested and imprisoned. If the coup wasn't planned with the government's knowledge, Erdogan profited massively from it.

Of course there is opposition within Turkey against Erdogan. Predominantly in the big cities. But as soon as you get outside the big cities and especially as soon as you pass Ankara you enter the countryside where Islam is dominant. The people there vote for Erdogan. Voting for Erdogan is a duty. Imams and other prominent people, including mayors and governers, are telling them to do so.


NATO does not dare and cannot act firmly with regard to Turkey. Many still cherish the hope that there will be a political change in Turkey, because Erdogan's following is a narrow majority of around 51%.

A problem of NATO is that the current, cleansed Turkish army knows all the technical equipment and knows about contingency plans and strategies.
The NATO Council seems to have taken too little account of the position of the European Union. It is in fact an undesirable situation. The situation is not improving. With the promise that Turkey could possibly become a member of the EU it was thought to temper the situation somewhat. But no one in Turkey is going to fall for that anymore. Not Erdogan with his AKP nor the opposition.

Although formally the year 2020 is not yet over, Erdogan has opened the floodgates and busloads of refugees arrive at the Greek border.
Europe has shown its weakness. But it must now show decisiveness. Because in any case, the people of Lesvos have had it all. They have no more life.
The wait is for a political change within Turkey

The wait is for a political change within Turkey

Published 3 March, 2020. ISME





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