A passage I read from an article in the Wall Street Journal reminds me of the old Erdogan. I am talking of the Erdogan that had zero problems with the European Union.
Then, the most important goal of Turkey seemed to be to join the EU:
At the start of his national political career, Mr. Erdogan cut a more accommodating figure. When he became prime minister in 2003, Turkey was two years into a bailout plan run by the International Monetary Fund, receiving billions of dollars of loans in exchange for implementing the fund’s recipe of fiscal and budget rigor.
Carrying out the remaining IMF measures, Turkey reaped the benefits with lower inflation and a jump in exports, becoming a darling of emerging-market investors. Europeans greeted Mr. Erdogan as a strategic partner and, in December 2004, the European Union formally granted Turkey the right to begin accession talks, kicking off large aid and investment programs.
At a conference around that time at the European Parliament, Franco-German lawmaker Daniel Cohn-Bendit walked up to the Turkish leader, video of the meeting shows. “Mr. Erdogan, I have a present for you,” the lawmaker said, handing him a coin. “The first euro in Turkish.”
With the flow of money, Turkey became a construction site, as Mr. Erdogan, who had developed a penchant for infrastructure projects when he was Istanbul’s mayor in the 1990s, launched train, highway and bridge projects. Istanbul’s skyline, which counted 19 high-rises when he became prime minister, now has 98, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a Chicago-based nonprofit.
In 2007, his honeymoon with the EU took a hit. Several European leaders, such as then-President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, publicly said they would veto Turkey’s membership to the bloc.
In 2008, the IMF assistance program expired. Mr. Erdogan minimized the fund’s role, instead crediting his own stewardship for Turkey’s economic miracle and vowing to follow his own course.
Today, Turkey is threatening to flood the EU with refugees amid bitter back and forths. Today, Turkey, a NATO member, feels more comfy buying missile defence systems from Russia than from NATO countries. Is Turkey still a Western-oriented country?
No. Turkey, like Russia, can’t be a FULL European country. Turkey’s place is as a Eurasian giant. That’s Turkey’s true self.