by Thomas Bargatzky
An opinion article published on 14 June 2017 in Turkish online newspaper Hürriyet Daily News, makes a strong case for a rapprochement between Turkey and the EU. According to the author, political problems with the EU notwithstanding, bilateral economic and commercial relations are on the rise. In addition, not only the economy plays an important role. A rapprochement should be also in Turkey‘s interests with regard to the quality of democracy in Turkey. The author leaves no doubt that for him, „Turkey’s future is in Europe – nowhere else“.
This opinion is amazing, and this not just against the backdrop of the recent rapid deterioration of relationships between Turkey and the EU. Relations between Turkey and Germany in particular deteriorate almost hourly. Westen elites, and especially German ones, fail to understand, however, that this is partly a result of their attitude toward Turkey. In 1987, Turkey made her application to accede to the European Economic Community. Status as a candidate for full membership of the European Community (EU) was granted in 1999. As a result of President Erdogan’s victory in the constitutional referendum in April 2017, accession negotiations have stopped. Hence, Turkey has now been kept waiting for thirty years.
Turkey may not accept to be stalled for more years to come. If so, the world may be at the threshold of a revolutionary realignment of the relations between the major state actors – a realignment which will shake the foundations of the power structure which has been in place since the end of the Cold War. Turkey may well play a major part in this process, since she holds the keys to the realignment in her hands.
The focus of the article presented lies on the role of Turkey in a possible – and necessary – shift in the power structure of the Near and Middle East and its impact upon EU and NATO. Current internal political problems of Turkey, which can only be solved by the Turkish people, are not dealt with.
Europe – A „Christian Club“?
Turkey should become aware that she will be never become a full member of the EU. The reason for the refusal, however, is not due to the EU being a „Christian Club“, as some Turkish journalists and politicians would maintain. It is true that religion and European integration have been inextricably linked in the beginning of this process, and it is true, too, that there are still Christians in Europe who take their religion seriously. As a political force, however, Christianity in Europe is dead, at least in Northern and Western Europe, owing to a rapid radical secularization and the waning power of the Christian Churches to reach out to the people. It has become fashionable in elite circles, internet platforms and the mainstream media in the West, to make fun of Christianity. It is considered to be an indicator of an enlightened state of mind to pile rubbish on Christian symbols and holy names.
In Germany, for example, the Lutherstadt Wittenberg made a proposal in 2012 to bestow her Luther Award on the obscure Russian punk rock group „Pussy Riot“ for their „courage“ to speak out against President-elect Vladimir Putin. The group, as is well known, had offended believers by obscene words and acts, desecrating the symbol of Russia’s post-communist turning to Orthodoxy, Moscow’s rebuilt Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The original Cathedral was dynamited by the communists in 1931, and it is hard to believe that it should be a coincidence that this Cathedral was the target for the degenerate acts hailed by western „democracy“ advocates. Western mainstream media would express concern, not about the disgraceful acts of the group, but about the „suppression of the freedom of expression“ in Russia. Als long as it goes against Russia and Putin, all stops are removed.
The proposal of the Lutherstadt Wittenberg met with protests, though, and the award was not conferred, but the whole process testifies to the pathetic cluelessness of parts of the Lutheran Church in Germany. The Roman Catholic Church in Germany does not yet indulge in celebrating offensive and sacrilegious acts as manifestations of free speech, this Church, however, is no less clueless than the Lutheran Church concerning essentials, as became evident in October 2016. Visiting the Temple Mount, Cardinal Reinhard Marx and Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, the preeminent Catholic and Protestant representatives of the two major Churches in Germany, removed their crosses in a show of overeagerness to comply with the presumptive wishes of their Muslim hosts. With pastors like these, German Christians may as well consider turning to the Orthodox Churches which might better serve their spiritual needs. Furthermore, Pope Franciscus‘ posture to become a politician pleading for unlimited Muslim immigration into Europe will accelerate the estrangement from their Church which has befallen many Catholics in Germany, and elsewhere in Europe.
Developments in the USA during the past two decades also testify to a confusion concerning the Christian roots of Western society. „Temples“ and monuments are devoted to the worship of Satan. Obscenity accompanies blasphemy: The Los Angeles-based Tom of Finland Foundation awarded its grand prize for artistic expression in 1996 to a drawing by an artist named Garilyn Brune. It shows a priest performing fellatio on the crucified Jesus. This goes on till today, with the movie industry contributing its fair share. All of this is tolerated and even celebrated in the West as demonstration of religious freedom and the freedom of the arts and expression.
Family and Nation under attack by radical secularism
These are no single events. Moreover, public acceptance and elite celebration of such artistic and social swamp flowers in the Western World indicate a general loss of religious and cultural roots. Europe, too, is no longer a „Christian Club“.
Furthermore, the axe is laid unto the roots of family and society in the West. In Germany, for example, the youth organization of the Green Party – the political party which has portrayed itself as a main sponsor of Turkish interests in Germany – demands the abolishment of traditional marriage and its replacement by multi-person groups. The USA, however, is one step ahead: The American organization „Marry Your Pet“ offers advice to persons who want to enter matrimony with their pet. Not a hoax, I am afraid, as some would maintain, And sooner or later, any fad which is invented in the USA will become popular in Europe, too.
What is more, the the principle of state sovereignty in the Western World is under attack by the Empire. Peter Sutherland, former Chairman of Goldman Sachs and UN Special Representative for International Migration, said in an Interview that the EU should undermine the national homogeneity of its member states.
It is hard to imagine that the Turkish people would feel at home in such a moral and mental environment. Turkey would never submit to such agendas. The same applies to Russia, by the way: Western lifestyle-elites hate Russia and President Putin for the same reasons they would never allow Turkey to become a member of the EU.
And as far as the “quality of democracy” in Europe is concerned, a veiled one-party system has evolved in Germany. With the exception of the left-wing party “Die Linke”, all the political parties in the German Parliament – the Bundestag – are in general agreement with the politics of Chancellor Angelika Merkel. While being strictly against military adventurism and the deployment of German troops to fight abroad, however, the “Linke” is wavering as far as the refugee crisis is concerned. Parts of them also cave in the political correctness of the day. To disagree in public with her course in the refugee crisis, for example, may be branded as “right-wing” in the mainstream media. It may invite censorship, intimidation, even loss of job. People are afraid to speak out. This has been confirmed recently by a comprehensive study of the treatment of the refugee crisis by German mainstream media. Freedom of speech, a pre-requisite for democracy, is in jeopardy.
The new Western “World Order”
Undermining the nation state and traditional moral and social values in the West goes way back into the 60s of the past century, but the recent new boost results from the transformation of the multi-polar Cold War-era into the unipolar world dominated by Washington and the transnational “corporatocracy”. After the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the West was seized by fits of an unrelenting triumphalism. US-President George H.W. Bush announced a „new world order“ guided by the „American Way of Life“, underwritten by world-wide American power projection. Military power should be supported by American soft power through culture, to make the re-modelling of the rest of the world more palatable. According to Zbigniew Brzezinski, American culture is a tool for the promotion of American economic and political interests:
“Cultural domination has been an underappreciated facet of American global power. Whatever one may think of its aesthetic values, America’s mass culture exercises a magnetic appeal, especially on the world’s youth. Its attraction may be derived from the hedonistic quality of the lifestyle it projects, but its global appeal is undeniable. American television programs and films account for about three-fourths of the global market. American popular music is equally dominant, while American fads, eating habits, and even clothing are increasingly imitated worldwide. The language of the Internet is English, and an overwhelming proportion of the global computer chatter also originates from America, influencing the content of global conversation. Lastly, America has become a Mecca for those seeking advanced education, with approximately half a million foreign students flocking to the United States, with many of the ablest never returning home. Graduates from American universities are to be found in almost every Cabinet on every continent”.
Culture as a weapon to secure American global power has been a very efficient tool in the building of the “new world order”, its impact is hard to beat. Western hard power and soft power notwithstanding, there is a growing resistance in the non-Western world against political and cultural domination, which has found in Islam a way to express itself. Re-Islamization in Turkey and the waning influence of secular Kemalism are Turkish expressions of this universal trend. European political elites are nonplussed and irritated by the rise to power of President RecepTayyip Erdogan and the AKP.
Changing the course of history?
Not only EU-Turkey relations have reached a crossroads. Relations between Turkey and the West in general have unfolded in a way which may urge Turkey to reconsider and readjust her military, economic, and foreign policy alliance with the West. The USA supports the outlawed Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK) through its Syrian wing, the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), with heavy weapons and ammunition and military training. Turkey’s concerns that Syrian militants might establish terrorist enclaves on the Turkish side of the border are ignored. Germany depicts Turkey as an unsafe country for its tourists and investors. Germany’s imperious behaviour, in particular, is rankling Turkey’s sensitivity. Turkish politicians and commentators would agree that Germany owes Turkey and President Erdogan gratitude, because in 2015 Turkey took drastic steps to stem the flow of refugees from Syria across the Aegaen Sea to the Greek islands.
Israel and Germany serve as America’s foot-soldiers and watchdogs. Israel’s task is to keep Muslims in the Middle East in their place. In the same vein, Germany’s task is to keep European states in their place inside the EU, and Turkey in its place outside Europe. Turkey, while being useful as a member of NATO, is just too big, powerful and conservative to be of use in converting Europe into a platform from which to project power and cultural revolution into the Eurasian land mass.
Russia and Turkey emerge as natural allies against the backdrop of ever-increasing and more and more desperate Western attempts to maintain hegemony in a unipolar world. Increasing cooperation with Russia such as in the deal with Moscow for the S-400 defense systems by the end of 2017, marks a step forward toward diversifying Turkey’s options. Turkish accession to the Eurasian Customs Union would also mark a decisive step in the direction of an enlargement of Turkey’s options. And as far as bilateral economic and commercial relations with Europe and the West in general are concerned, the West’s habit to “freeze” (that is, to steal) economic and financial assets of disobedient countries and its key representatives for the sake of the promotion of “freedom”, “human rights” etc. has become all too obvious in recent years.
Yet it is not only cooperation with Russia which would increase Turkey’s room for manoeuvre vi-à-vis the Western powers. The entry of India and Pakistan into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in June 2017 is tantamount to re-shuffling the cards for the new “Great Game” over influence and resources in Eurasia. If Turkey decides to exit NATO and to join an expanded SCO, it will be part of an alliance that now represents roughly half of humanity and probably more than 25% of global GDP. Such a step by Turkey would mark a watershed in the course of post-Cold War history. Others might follow, and this would seriously weaken the West’s capability to wage endless wars for “democracy” and “Western values”, to foster “regime change” and support “color revolutions”. Turkey may have it in her hands to dramatically change the course of history. All things considered, the country may well come to the conclusion that her future is in Eurasia and the SCO – nowhere else.
- Murat Yetkin: Turkey’s future is in Europe – nowhere else. Hurriyet Daily News, June 14, 2017. http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-future-is-in-europe–nowhere-else.aspx?PageID=238&NID=114299&NewsCatID=409 ↑
- Bernd Lähne: Lutherpreis für Pussy Riot? Vorschlag der Stadt Wittenberg stößt auf Empörung. Leipziger Volkszeitung (Online)., October 7, 2012. https://www.change.org/p/vergabe-des-lutherpreis-das-unerschrockene-wort-an-polit-kritische-punk-band-pussy-riot ↑
- James George Jatras: Death of a Nation. Strategic Culture Foundation August 17, 2017. ↑
- Jan Fleischhauer: Die Unterwerfung. Spiegel Online, November 7, 2016. http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/christentum-und-islam-die-unterwerfung-kolumne-a-1120073.html ↑
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- Thomas Bargatzky: Die Konservativen und der Islam. Geolitico, July 27, 2017. http://www.geolitico.de/2017/07/27/die-konservativen-und-der-islam/ ↑
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- Zbigniew Brzezinski: The Grand Chessboard. Amarican Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives. – New York: Basic Books, 1997, p. 25. ↑
- Ilnur Cevik: Germany owes Turkey, Erdogan deep gratitude. Daily Sabah, July 25, 2017. https://www.dailysabah.com/columns/ilnur-cevik/2017/07/26/germany-owes-turkey-erdogan-deep-gratitude ↑
- „Economy Minister: Turkey eyes Eurasian Customs Union“. Daily Sabah, August 18, 2917. https://www.dailysabah.com/economy/2017/08/19/economy-minister-turkey-eyes-eurasian-customs-union ↑
- Seema Sengupta: Bigger Shanghai Cooperation Orgabnization may be game-changer. Asia Times, June 5, 2017. http://www.atimes.com/article/bigger-shanghai-cooperation-organization-may-game-changer/ Dr. Thomas Bargatzky is professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. He is an observer of international power politics and has published on topics of security politics in journals and the internet. He recently finished a book (in German) on the NATO-war against Libya in 2011. He can be reached by his website www.thomas-bargatzky.jimdo.com ↑
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