Some European countries seem to be in a race to restrict events organized by Turkish associations that invite Turkish authorities to meet Turks living in those countries. It is, of course, not surprising, as we are aware of rising anti-Turkish sentiment in Europe; however, the extent it has reached is quite abnormal.
European authorities recently canceled several events organized by various Turkish groups about the upcoming constitutional referendum in Turkey. It's been a tradition for Turkish politicians to meet with Turks in Europe for years, as millions with dual citizenship, and work or resident permits live in Europe. It started with heightened tension between Berlin and Ankara following the cancellation of several events that some ministers were to attend. Ankara reacted, and Turks wanting to attend these events were shocked, and German media has been packed with insulting articles about Turkey and Turkish ministers. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced that he would go to Germany no matter what happens, which he did last week. He met Turkish citizens in the garden of the Turkish consulate in Hamburg.
The intense criticism made the Federal German government put the blame on local authorities, further infuriating the German media. Media outlets that previously accused Chancellor Angela Merkel of giving in to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the past were angry this time with the arrest of outlawed PKK-linked Deniz Yücel, who used his journalist identity as a cover. Supposedly, Yücel was employed by Die Welt as a journalist who knows Turkey well, yet all 54 of his articles were devoted to advocating the crimes of the PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
Even though it seems as though the latest tension between Germany and Turkey emerged after Yücel's arrest, it has a past. Last month, it was claimed that some Turkish religious officials working in mosques in Germany linked to the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB) were "spying," and German authorities raided some of their houses. Accordingly, these officials were sending information to Ankara on individuals and institutions linked to FETÖ.
Both the PKK and FETÖ are responsible for killing hundreds of Turkish people, including innocent civilians and officers, yet their members are embraced by German authorities. PKK and FETÖ members roam freely around Germany, organizing anti-Turkey propaganda activities and maybe more, including terror attacks. Moreover, they recently organized events for the upcoming referendum. While Germany prevented the meetings of Turkish ministers for various reasons, no decisions have been taken to restrict events attended by PKK members.
There have been similar restrictions against Turkish authorities in other European countries like Austria as well. But what happened in the Netherlands on Saturday was a whole new level of hatred and madness. First, Dutch authorities cancelled the foreign minister's flight clearance to the Netherlands where he was to meet with Turkish citizens in Rotterdam. Previously, Family Minister Betül Fatma Sayan Kaya's meetings were cancelled by the Netherlands based on poor excuses. Minister Kaya, who was in Germany on Saturday, traveled by land to Rotterdam, but her convoy was blocked from entering the Turkish consulate. She was threatened and deported, and her crew was taken into custody. Turkish journalists who followed the news were also deported, and Turks who protested this insane situation were attacked by mounted police forces, dogs, SWAT teams, batons and water cannons, a clear violation of international laws and conventions at the heart of Europe; however, Western media played dead, while many extreme right wing supporters on social media chanted for the killing of the Turkish minister. Officially, the Dutch government gave security reasons and the likelihood of votes shifting to Geert Wilders' far-right party, unofficially, as their excuses for the restrictions. The Netherlands has elections on Wednesday; however, they acted as if they lined up before the voters begging: "Don't vote for Wilders. We can be as fascist and Islamophobic as he is."
Earlier Saturday, the Dutch government said they were offended by the words of President Erdoğan who called them "Nazi remnants and fascists" after they cancelled Çavuşoğlu's flight clearance. However, they proved that night that Erdoğan was totally right to call them so. As a six-year old would know, if you don't want to be called a fascist, you don't act like one.
Saturday was a dark day for democracy, and for one moment I think I saw in Rotterdam the end of the EU, which was once so proud of its Western values, such as democracy, human rights, freedoms and equality. European politicians who call themselves democrats warn others about the rise of the extreme right, but they forget some facts. Their covert Islamophobic messages via the media or directly to the public led to the rise of the far right in the first place. The truth is that they are guilty of opening the doors to hell through their failed Middle East policies, anti-refugee speeches and anti-Turkey sentiment, and they are the ones who ignited the fire at the heart of the EU that led to the rise of racism and the collapse of the EU, burning themselves along with it.
Washington is now occupied with the trouble that the Obama administration's policies generated and Donald Trump, and Europe, which chose to sit on Obama's tail, is now watching the rise of Eurosceptics. Democrats will sooner or later understand that social engineering is not semipermeable. When society is prompted to hate Muslims with xenophobic arguments, eventually they start to hate all "others," want more restrictions, more walls and more protectionism. And that will bring the end of the union the Europeans spent decades building and establishing. The day when Europeans hate each other and see their neighbors as enemies once again is closer than democrats think, and it's inevitable. What a shame, what a pity.
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