Reassessment of Turkish Presidential System over the Netherlands Diplomatic Crisis
Turkey pass through a troublesome and stretched period in European Union (EU) relations. Undoubtedly long-standing negotiation process, persistently keeping unopen chapters, indecisive and hypocrite attitude of the EU against Turkey and some EU member countries’ being an accessory to the crime of Gulenist terror organization, PKK and DHKP-C militants led to these tensions. In addition, we are facing a Europe which is overwhelmed with the racism, xenophobia, separatism, and hate speech, preferring assimilating the minorities rather than integrating them into the society, lose her self-confidence and denying her normative values such as notably the freedom of thought and faith.
Interestingly, the Union tended to attack against Turkey systematically within three or five years as if it was her ontological target. Especially after the May 2013, Turkey became the target of the EU because in this date, Turkey payed all debts to IMF, arrived the lowest rate of inflation, reached the lowest rate of unemployment, obtained the highest level of export. That is the reason why the EU implemented hostile policies against Turkey. Gezi park turmoil, MIT (National Intelligence Organization of Turkey) crisis, 17/25 December bureaucratic intervention, 15 July occupation attempt was the extension of fear and worry on the elusive character of Turkey.
However in recent days diplomatic impoliteness shown to Turkish ministers in both Germany and the Netherlands as a result of the abdication of reason made these hostile abnormality in relations more obvious and open to debate. Definitely, this deviation had some historical, sociological, economic and political reasons. Nevertheless, such a systematic and long-standing reflexes which can be called as Turkophobia rather than or beyond Islamophobia cannot be explained just in the election series in Germany, France and the Netherlands as declared to the public.
Let’s have a look at the historical background of relations between Turkey and Europe conditioning today’s logic and mentality. We are going to the 16th century when the Mediterranean was transformed into a Muslim and Turkish Lake during the rule of Kanuni Sultan Suleiman. In this period of time, the destination of Europe was the Jerusalem where had been shrined by all divine religions. However, the existence of an almighty Turkish Empire at eastward which made impossible to direct led to eventually the emergence of “civilization” as a result of the universalization of the European idiosyncratic national values of the Europe.
That is, the Europeans come together and united against the Ottoman Empire as a common threat and created a common culture and identity. On the other hand, they preferred to march towards the west by means of naval powers such as the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal recorded to the literature as “westernization of west”. They universalized their national cultures by colonizing the Africa and America with ruthless ways and massacres. Consequently, The Ottoman Empire played very critical role in constructing and shaping “a common European identity” as a “common constitutive Other” of Europeans. As a matter of fact, Europeans which underwent to the Pope-Empire dichotomy/struggles, sectarian wars and religious divergence only just once united strongly arisen from the fear and threat of Turks. This fact refuted the enlightened ideology and Euro-centric considerations imposing that every community demands to be civilized must evolve from the cultural evolution ladders. By the way, we have add into our analysis that the Netherlands who begs the help for the Ottomans while struggling for independence with Spain and performing her servitude to the Ottoman Sultan. It seems impoliteness we suffered today was the reflection of inferiority complex of the Europeans infiltrated from the past anyway.
Today the Europeans bear these memories in their minds greenly. However, European Union is at the edge of disintegration resulting from many striking events such as Brexit, the failure of the union to prepare a Convention by vetoing France and the Netherlands in 2005, and the persistence of economic crisis. Moreover, the inefficiency in establishing an army (Eurocorps), the disagreement in constructing a common foreign and security policy, the inability in institutionalizing the multiculturalism as a source of legitimacy for the project of common Europe are supposed to come to end. Unfortunately, no longer the Europe can bring leaders with strategic vision up like the founding fathers of the European Union. European leaders were horrified from the flux of Syrian immigrants because they were coming with their cultures, religions and faiths into the Continent. Whereas, the European continent lost her self-confidence in respect of her faith, culture and normative values and these immigrant could distort the European cultural harmony.
The Unıon tended to attack agaınst Turkey systematıcally wıthın three or fıve years as ıf ıt was her ontologıcal target. Especıally after the May 2013, Turkey became the target of the EU because ın thıs date, Turkey payed all debts to IMF, reached the lowest rate of unemployment.
As a matter of fact, Turkey is a unique country which is secular, democratic and equipped with the western values to harmonize Islam and democracy and having increasingly developing strong economy among more than fifty Muslim countries. This character of Turkey destroys the sectarian and Islamophobic policies of the West. Vehemently, Turkey’s assertive foreign policy which is contrary to the conventional alliance system, prevailed position in Syrian civil war as well as her pivotal power in Middle East spoiled the intrinsic game of the Europe. That was the reason why Europeans strongly emphasized the Turkish enmity and Turkophobia. Hence, history repeats itself and Turkey as a constitutive Other is revisiting.
On the other hand, Turkey’s glorious economic performance made a so strong impression on the European countries that Turkish economy grown fivefold more than European one between 2002-2013 (the Netherlands %76, Germany %73, France %70 and Turkey %310), third bridge, third and largest airport, Channel Istanbul projects are frightening the Europe in respect of competition. In line with these mega projects and investments, the capability of Turkey to mobilize the Euphrates Shield Operation immediately after the trauma of July 15 attempt of occupation, her playmaking role in Middle East by excluding the Europe and the USA out of the agenda, her existence in Africa, and her constitution of the funds of existence as a challenging competitor power strengthen Turkey’s hand.
On the other hand, Turkey’s attack to national and domestic arm industry and choice of air defense mechanisms such as S400 and Patriot missiles out of NATO system led in Europeans dramatically to have ambivalence in losing Turkey. More desperately, Turkish people, who consider the European Union as an “external changing mechanism” and rapidly adapting their economy and socio-political structure into Copenhagen political and Maastricht economic criteria on the dates of 2003-2007, today distrust the Union and their demand and claim to the accession to the EU is dramatically decreasing in line with the emotional disengagement to its legitimacy and authenticity.
Turkey ıs a unıque country whıch ıs secular, democratıc and equıpped wıth the western values to harmonıze Islam and democracy and havıng ıncreasıngly developıng strong economy among more than fıfty Muslım countrıes.
Turkey which suffers huge transformation felt herself forced to maintain her gains and acquirements by changing her administrative system. In this way, permanent chaotic system which appeared as the fragmentation among the president, parliament and bureaucracy was legitimized by the existing parliamentary system. This changing which will possible put into practice after the strategic referendum which will be held on April 16. Thus, bureaucratic tutelage, coalitions, military interventions, weak governments, snap elections, political polarizations, and all kinds of instabilities will be ended.
Nevertheless, the decadent European Union declared Turkey as an Other in order to retard or, if possible, prevent the collapse of unification project. As a matter of fact, the European Union needs to an Other in order to exist but they don’t want to lose Turkey even though they don’t have a coherent strategy to do this. I hope the presidential system will be a most concrete response for this pathologic state of mind.
*Head of Political Science and International Relations; Dean of Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Dumlupinar University / firstname.lastname@example.org