Ibrahim Karagul: EU has turned against Turkey to help keep itself together
Some may wonder why Europe is adopting an increasingly antagonistic stance towards Turkey. It is possible that the people and leaders of Europe are finally fed up with the impudent meddling in their counties by Turkish officials and by Erdoğan’s increasingly autocratic behavior in Turkey. Or the European establishment may be acting tough against Turkey so as to defuse the surging popularity of the political right.
Turkish columnist Ibrahim Karagul has another theory. According to him:
“They [the EU] are taking action through a single mind, being controlled through a single center. The only matter left on which the European Union can unite is their enmity toward Turkey. They have dispersed, drifted away and collapsed regarding every other matter.”
In effect Karagul is saying that since the EU is beset by troubles serious enough to cause it dissolution, the only way to sustain the integrity of the European project is by unifying Europeans against a common foe, that of Turkey.
Of course for Karagul, as is common to most in the Middle East, it is very difficult to contend with the possibility that, at the very least, some of the blame in the ongoing European-Turkish row, falls on Turkey itself. This lack of self-criticism leads him to create an explanation which invariably blames someone else as being the cause of the row. However, there is some logic in his theory.
Throughout history groups have been unified based on the denigration and hatred of some scapegoat group. For Nazi Germany that was the Jews. For Stalin the kulaks. Even Erdoğan is currently employing a similar tactic, blaming the Gülenists for many of the ills currently besetting his country. For whatever reason the hatred and vilification of others is a very powerful method to unify a group of people or a nation. It would not be ridiculous to posit that an authoritarian organization like the EU would make use of such tried and tested methods to maintain and further expand it power.
Maybe Karagul is correct that Europe’s new found toughness against Turkey is merely a ploy to help keep the EU together. However, if any group is being used in this manner by the EU, I would argue that it is not the Turks but other Europeans. Europeans who are nationalistic and value their cultural identity, who do not want EU technocrats meddling in their day to day lives and telling them what to do, and who do not want millions of third world migrants pouring into the countries.
In my view it is such Europeans who are true object of the EU’s vilification and scapegoating.