Turkey has recently become the target of European criticism, with Ankara being accused of playing an anti-European game involving using refugees and migrants to attack Europe. Turkey’s military activities in Syria have been condemned, and it is suspected of working with Russia.
The country has also been accused of authoritarianism and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan openly called a sultan. It is argued that Turkey is returning to its Ottoman roots and is trying to achieve hegemony in the region.
The situation is much more complicated. Instead of treating Turkey like a geopolitical asset for Europe, the EU is perceiving Ankara ideologically. Will the EU sacrifice everything in its pursuit leftist-liberal ideology instead of viewing Turkey as an ally that can be used to stabilize Europe’s south-eastern borders?
There has not been any progress in negotiations for accession to the EU for years even if Turkey has not helped itself in the talks.
We can debate the topic of the events on the Turkish-Syrian border, but the answer is simple: Due to a lack of international support, Turkey is trying to independently secure it interests.
One can question whether it is wise and in accordance with international law and humanitarian rights but what other choices does Turkey have? Will someone help them? Are we still keeping Turkey on the road to the EU?
Turkey’s actions can be seen as hostile towards Europe, but it is an awkward call for help. It requires further discussion.
Turkey flirts with Russia? Will we condemn Ankara or offer an alternative to return to working with Europe?
As Polish foreign minister, I made a mechanism of cooperation between the three largest states of NATO’s Eastern Flank: Poland, Romania and Turkey. It has not been used for a year.
If not Poland than who will remind Europe of Turkey’s importance to European security? As a result of our actions we secured NATO’s North-Eastern flank. We can in turn help Turkey protect the South-Eastern one and Poland will benefit too.
Title image: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, walks with European Council President Charles Michel in Brussels, March 2020, AP.