ASIA/TURKEY - The Dominican Monge: the EU on the Turkish dossier got it all wrong

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Istanbul (Agenzia Fides - The authoritarian involution of the Turkish leadership was "favored by European politics, or better by the European polical immobility with respect to the integration of Turkey to the Union." This is stressed by father Claudio Monge, superior of the Dominican community in Istanbul in an interview with Fides Agency, where he also directs the Center for Interreligious and Cultural dialogue. "Until at least 2006" explains Fr. Monge "Erdogan and his party had really staked a lot on integration, and many reforms were made to facilitate this step. But the lack of European political vision frustrated everything opening a new erdoganian and Turkish course. "First, efforts were an attempt to re-situate the chessboard of Arab countries m"brothers in faith". Then the riots of the so-called "Arab Spring" and the beginning of the conflict in Syria blew up political and diplomatic projects, millionaire investments. At that point - recalls the Dominican - "The reaction of the proud Erdogan took the road of populist authoritarianism. Ultimately, the statement made in these hours, "I do not recognize the legitimacy of the European Parliament" ... is not that outrageous."
According to Fr. Monge the only way to bring the Prime Minister to complaisant advice remains that of an internal opposition to the AKP - the Islamic conservative Party in power -, given that "there is no political opposition in Turkey and the almost three weeks that have gone by since the beginning of the crisis amply demonstrate it." In this perspective, it is best to keep an eye on the growing gap between Erdogan and President Abdullah Gül, who in recent weeks has several times repeated the line of dialogue with the protesters. The "final battle" between Gül and Erdogan – explains Fr. Monge "leads to the presidentials in 2014: who does not agree with Erdogan’s line will have to come forward, claiming Gül for a second presidential term."
The possibility of integration in the European Union now seems to have been set aside with Erdogan’s speech last Sunday. According to Fr. Monge "The international community and especially the members of the European Union should stop giving lessons of democracy: they are not credible because, as I said, they got the whole policy on the Turkish dossier wrong". The Dominican is also convinced that the U.S. will not come into conflict with Erdogan, "because with the current crisis and regional instability, issues of internal democracy in the Country will be perceived by the U.S. political leaders as secondary to the need to preserve a solid partner in the region, bound to NATO". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 18/06/2013).