Fear of President Erdoğan

Published 19.04.2016 01:06

We have lately seen increased hostility toward President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in some EU countries. This can be regarded as a new kind of campaign led by anti-Turkey and anti-Muslim groups in countries such as Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, supported by circles that side with the outlawed PKK or similar terrorist groups.

Various insults that flout the EU's own principles have been expressed under the pretext of notions such as press freedom and freedom of the arts. If remarks that disregard human dignity can be seen as part of press freedoms, then EU values must have sadly been altered.

As Erdoğan and the citizens of Turkey continue to react against such insults, which directly target the president on TV stations and other media in Germany, some German politicians issue statements suggesting that such comments are protected under press freedom, and this makes the situation even graver. Would the reactions be the same if Jan Böhmermann had said what he did about Erdoğan about the German president or chancellor, the French president or the queen of the U.K.? We all know that the responses would be different if those figures were targeted instead of Erdoğan.

Every statesman with honor reacts to despicable insults, whether made about themselves or others. The comments made about the president aired on a TV show watched by millions. Not only Erdoğan, but also millions of Turkish citizens had the same reaction to the incident. Turks are self-respecting people. So for those who have difficulty understanding the reactions due to their different notions and criteria of dignity and morals, they should not give any advice to Erdoğan and Turkish citizens on the subject - self-respecting people and nations naturally respond to insults that contradict human dignity.

The language Böhmermann used on his program on ZDF recalls anti-Semitic jokes and propaganda from the Nazi era. When the language employed is disgraceful and insulting, the right to call the perpetrators to account is valid for all states.

It is an interesting phenomenon that this behavior was embraced by some politicians in the Netherlands and Belgium and some law amendments have been proposed with regard to insulting statesmen. If this done by holding up the Erdoğan case as an example, then the democratic ideals of those in the Netherlands and Belgium become highly dubious.

Unfortunately, German politicians and parties are doing the same. What kind of a democratic understanding is that? Formerly, the Bundestag included a paragraph in German law as an attempt to prevent and penalize insults to Iran's former dictator, Shah Reza Pahlavi. And now they try to rescind the paragraph to freely insult Erdoğan, laying bare their political ethics.

Enacting laws to silence dissenting voices in Germany for the sake of protecting commercial relations with Pahlavi's Iran has now turned into a struggle to make insulting Erdoğan possible even though he was elected by the popular vote in Turkey. So, the main problem might be that German firms were not included in large-scale projects ongoing in Turkey in recent years.

What can be the source of fear of Erdoğan in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and other countries?

It is obvious that their fear is not related to democracy. EU countries have cooperated with the Egyptian dictator, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi; not adopted a stance against the Syrian dictator, Bashar Assad, who killed hundreds of thousands of people in Syria; secretly cooperated with some dictators to be able to continue exploiting their former colonies in Africa; gave the red carpet treatment to Russian President Vladimir Putin, out of concerns for gas, and to Chinese statesmen and lifted the embargo on Iran to develop commercial relations. But now they are somehow very active when it comes to Erdoğan.

While the EU allows all kinds of insults targeting Erdoğan and supports all of Erdoğan's opponents, even though some are terrorists, he is a leader who has won every democratic election he has been in for the last 12 years, has complete popular support and is supported by both Turkish citizens and the Islamic world at large.

He democratized Turkey, which suffered from military coups for years and in which torture and death sentences to silence dissidents were common place. He revived the social state and brought the country's economy to such strength that while the EU was struggling with economic crises, Turkey sailed smooth. What is more, he made freedom of expression and belief possible in the country.

Despite the problems afflicting the region Turkey is in, Erdoğan accelerated the country's progress as a democratic state in which those fleeing dictators can find shelter.

Many EU countries are embarrassed by his success because of its humane accomplishments, as Turkey has taken in millions of Syrian refugees and provided them with humane living conditions.

Thanks to Erdoğan, since Turkey has turned into a major economic power, huge investments and considerable development aid is also provided to many countries.

While EU countries sit and watch, Turkey is building or repairing bridges, hospitals and schools in many countries across the world. The Turkish Armed Forces carries out important missions around the world to fight terrorism and hijacking.

The politicians in Germany who promote people to insult Erdoğan should consider why Turkish youth in various EU countries would like to move to Turkey.

Apparently, some EU countries are disturbed by the progresses of the new, modern, social, democratic and powerful Turkey. They are particularly scared that Turkey is now on the same level as them, while they used to be pleased with the old Turkey, which was dependent on the EU. They are afraid of Erdoğan's vision, as the leader of both Turkey and the Islamic world, since they worry about how far his achievements might go.

But they are mistaken. There is nothing to be afraid of. Turkey is actually a great opportunity to the EU as long as partnership is achieved. It would have been more appropriate to EU interests had European states tried cooperating instead of defaming Erdoğan and attempting to undermine him.

However, this seems to be their main problem. Those who lack vision in the EU are even afraid of Erdoğan's shadow, as he has a powerful vision and long-term targets. And they resort to assaults made under the pretext of press freedoms.

It is a pity because they will continue to lose if they keep resorting to such methods.

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