Racism is again on the rise in Germany. In the run up to the German federal elections on Sept. 24, it is obvious that German politicians are increasingly clinging to anti-Turkey discourse. Lately, the German government spokesperson remarked that Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet other EU leaders regarding Turkey's EU membership, adding that each EU country's approval is required to cease the negotiations.
Facing off against the Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Martin Schulz in a televised debate on Sunday, Merkel uttered that she believed Turkey would never enter the EU.
"Turkey is moving away at an accelerated pace from all democratic habits. We can think of giving a tougher warning to our citizens not to travel to Turkey," she said, adding that they were also reviewing Hermes and World Bank credit guarantees.
We are accustomed to rhetoric that is obsessed with excluding Turkey from Europe. Of course, it is not very probable to exclude from Europe Germany, who turned the continent and the rest of the world into a blood bath three times over the past century. Forgetting Kaiser Wilhelm or Hitler is easier by looking at Merkel.
Let me go back to the 1890s in order to get to the bottom of today's anti-Turkey rhetoric. Do you remember the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish War, also known as the 1993 War, and the Treaty of San Stefano? Following the Armenian pogroms that were frequently seen in eastern Anatolia and Istanbul after this period, the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II was nicknamed the Red Sultan. The same insolence currently displayed to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was targeting Abdul Hamid back then. For instance, former British Prime Minister William Gladstone who was in the chair in the 19th century used to remark that Turks would return to Asia.
Aside from statements obsessed with Turks during the 19th century, former French President Giscard D'Estaing said the following words 19 years ago in an interview he gave to a Turkish journalist, namely Belkıs Kılıçkaya, "Turks declared Ankara their capital city, not allowing the capital to remain in Istanbul, consequently in Europe. Will they agree to move their capital to Brussels? Do they consider this? Turks are highly loyal to their identity, traditions and culture. How could they agree to this?"
Maybe we are a long way away from that phase, but we want the EU to have a president and for its capital to be Brussels. Will Turks agree to a European president?
Seemingly, we need to study history more than ever today. There is no other way to understand how Merkel, who was a young communist in East Germany until 1990, is now taking a stance against Turkey with a Christian democrat identity and embracing members of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and the outlawed PKK.
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