Brexit may have its advantages for Turkey

Published 27.06.2016 00:33

Now that the dust is settling down after the British voters decided to pull the United Kingdom out of the European Union in a historical referendum on Thursday we see confusion, anger and disarray among the leaders and politicians of the EU that may have its advantages for Turkey.

There is little doubt that the financial and economic fallouts of the British decision to pull out of the EU after the "Brexit" campaign that resulted in Thursday's vote will have repercussions for Turkey as it has for other countries, yet it is also a fact that the relative resilience of the Turkish economy can cope with the aftershocks of the U.K. exit.

What is important for Turkey are the political developments that have followed the British decision especially as the proponents of the divorce with the EU used Turkey as a campaign ploy scaring British voters that Turkey's accession to the EU was imminent and that if they remained in the EU, 1 million Turks would flood Britain, which of course was absolute nonsense.

These unfruitful debates based on stark lies and fallacies in the U.K. have hurt Turks who felt deceived that while U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron always stood up as the ardent proponent of Turkey's accession to Europe, he told the British voters that with the current pace of affairs there was "no danger" that Turkey would "enter the EU by the year 3000."

Well Mr. Cameron got what he deserved. The rule that honesty is rewarded and that you have to pay a price for dishonesty in dealing with the Turks has worked again.

Cameron is on the way out, Scotland is threatening to leave Britain and Northern Ireland wants to leave the U.K. and join the Irish Republic. The cat is out of the bag for the British.

While all this is happening EU leaders as usual are displaying disunity, incoherence and disarray. The foreign ministers of EU founding states Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium have met to urge Britain to take urgent steps for a divorce and not stall until October when the British Tories meet to name a new leader to replace Mr. Cameron. Yet German Chancellor Angela Merkel has opposed this kind of haste to push the British and has urged more caution. Meanwhile other EU states have voiced annoyance that they have been left out of the urgent meeting of the foreign ministers. EU officials in the Commission and European Parliament who have been very vocal against Turkey in recent weeks are displaying anger and enmity toward Britain.

Right-wing leaders in many EU countries have started calling on their own citizens to walk out of the EUjust like Britain.

So with all these developments it will not be wrong to say that with the EU in disarray and facing an uncertain future, the anti-Turkey and anti-Erdoğan rhetoric that has been on the upward swing for several months will die down and those who have been plotting against Turkey by helping PKK terrorists will have to concentrate on European internal affairs.

Those in Turkey who were using anti-Turkish sentiments among some European leaders to further their own causes in Turkey, like some journalists and politicians, will have to seek new allies as their backers in Europe, Germany, Britain, France, Belgium and elsewhere concentrate in gathering the pieces of the mess created by the decision of the British to leave the EU.

The U.K.'s decision may well be a blessing for Turkey. We will now see the true face of everyone and whether or not it is worthwhile for us to try to enter the EU. A survey carried out by MAK Consultancy Company between June 23 and 24 shows 68 percent of the Turks interviewed said they want Turkey to end membership negotiations with the EU, 23 percent said talks should continue and 9 percent were undecided. The survey was conducted after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared he could ask the nation to decide at a referendum if Turkey should continue its quest for EU membership.

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