Europe: With friends like these, who needs enemies?

THE EDITORIAL BOARD
ISTANBUL
Published 21.06.2016 20:40

European Parliament President Martin Schulz continued his attack on Turkey at Europe Calling, an event hosted by the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung, where prominent opinion leaders engaged in a discussion about the meaning of Europe and what keeps Europeans together. Although he stopped short of complete honesty, Mr. Schulz essentially told the audience that hate, more than anything, should be the glue that holds together European nations.

Mr. Schulz on Monday said Turkey had failed to meet a number of technical criteria necessary for visa liberalization and claimed that the anti-terror laws in Turkey, which actively fights multiple terrorist organizations, including DAESH and the PKK, are in fact an instrument to crack down on dissent. He then listed a number of excuses why Europe should not cooperate with Turkey before announcing that it was he alone who bravely stood up against the refugee deal.

"There are an estimated 2.4 million refugees in Turkey and, whether we like it or not, we must work with Turkey to help them," Schulz told the audience. "I was therefore in favor of cooperating with Turkey in the beginning, but I'm against paying any price to the government in Ankara, which is why I suspended the visa liberalization process at the European Parliament."

Say what you will about Mr. Schulz, but he knows a thing or two about pretending to be constructive when he is not wooing the xenophobes and white supremacists among his voters.

Oh, the irony. The European Parliament president just told a group of people who thought they were going to hear about what brings Europe together that he came up with the ultimate weapon to bring it down: Turn the home of Goethe, Beethoven and Da Vinci into the land of Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders and Nigel Farage.

To be clear, Mr. Schulz is not alone.

Millions of useful clowns in Britain have been campaigning to leave the European Union. Exploiting the humanitarian crisis to help themselves instead of furthering Europe's interests, people like Mr. Schulz would rather burn bridges than look bad in front of their entire village. What makes him the butt of the joke, however, is that not every foolish politician gets to sink their own boat.

Although Mr. Schulz does not admit publicly, his magic formula to keep Europe together is to blame the continent's problems on Turkey. Can't create jobs? No clue how to fight off neo-Nazis? People torching refugee homes? Mr. Schulz and his merry band of unprofessional, short-sighted, populist friends are lucky that the creators of South Park already composed the song "Blame Canada." They just have to change the lyrics.

Finally, Mr. Schulz's obsession with Turkey and the country's elected leaders offers little hope about the future of an international organization already on the brink of collapse. If people like Mr. Schulz are Europe's best hope, many Turks now argue that it might be a good idea to take our business elsewhere.

To be clear, there are people everywhere who just cannot see that they steer the ship toward the rocks. You just cross your fingers and hope they will not go further in their political careers than becoming the mayor of a small town in Central Europe with zero Muslim residents that desperately wants to outlaw minarets.

It is probably too late for Mr. Schulz to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a football player, but he should seriously consider going back to the bookstore where he can inflict less damage on Europe's vital interests.

European politics has reached a crossroads. Unable to find solutions to pressing problems, the continent's political elite have started scapegoating Turkey - a predominantly Muslim country with a robust economy and political leaders who do not mind calling out Europe's hypocrisy and ineffectiveness. The last time a German fool blamed Europe's problems on a non-Christian community, it took decades for the continent to sort out his mess. If the trend continues, millions of Turks, who thought of Europe as an ally and friend, will inevitably start asking that with friends like these, who needs enemies?

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