There is a Turkish saying about saying the last thing at the beginning. Well, this is the start and end of it: “Europe does not want Turkey not because it is Muslim, but because it does not reject Islam.”
EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkır said in Washington on Thursday, “Unless the visas are lifted on the date promised, we may terminate the 'Readmission Agreement' signed regarding refugees.”
There is meaning/timing for throwing this card on the table. The sides will sit at the table on March 7 to discuss updating Turkey and the EU, energy, Customs Union, lifting of visas for Turkish citizens, opening the negotiation chapters and illegal migration.
The situation at hand is “the greatest wave of refugees in Europe's history,” and Ankara is raising its hand this high for the first time. This is what they call “having an advantage.”
On the other hand, we need to understand what Bozkır means when he says, “There is an organization that wants to exploit illegal migration. There is a $6-billion-dollar economy in question.” This is the “disadvantage.”
2P: 'Russia is included in Europe'
As we know, in Europe, Christianity was divided into two camps as the Catholic Church (West) and the Eastern Orthodox Church. The disagreement was actually political. The Ottoman Empire had allowed the Orthodox religious freedom and the Catholics were afraid of the Orthodox influence rising as much as they feared the spread of the Ottomans in Europe. The other parallel to the US including Iran in the game is Cuba, and this encompassing movement, which US President Barack Obama considers as his presidential legacy, is going to reach its peak with his visit to Havana.
Keeping this in mind, remember the previous development: “Cuban capital Havana was scene of a historic meeting between the Catholic and Orthodox churches last night. A pope and Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch came together for the first time after a 962-year separation.” (“962 yıl sonra Papa-Patrik buluşması.” (Pope-Patriarch meet for first time after 962 years), February 13, BBC.)
Let us also read it through the eyes of the Russians: “It was emphasized that both leaders were sad over the loss of unity between the churches and a call for unity was made to the international community to end terrorism. In the statement he made through his Twitter account, Pope Francis said, 'Meeting with Patriarch Kirill is the gift of God.' The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church said, 'the meeting gives the chance to state that both churches can work in cooperation.' Pope Francis on the other hand said, 'we talked like brothers.'” (“Historical meeting in Cuba between Catholic and Orthodox churches after 1,000 years,” February 12, Sputnik.)
The US-Russia partnership in Syria and the church partnership in Cuba are the same. This should not be confused with the “Who will keep Europe” struggle between the US and Russia.
European balances close to Ankara's
Allow me to present to you three developments in chronological order and you can place them as you see fit…
1) Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu: “Just think about it, Turkish and German governments are now holding a joint Cabinet meeting around the same table and solving the problems in the co-presidency of the prime ministers of both countries. With the laws that will be accepted in Parliament in the upcoming term, everything will be complete to allow the visa-free travel of our citizens. We also discussed important matters, primarily Syria, with UK Prime Minister David Cameron. Our concerns regarding the current developments are the same with the UK” (January 29)
2) “French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron warned that if the UK leaves the EU, the relationship between the two countries may change. He said that in the event the UK leaves the EU, the refugee camp in Calais may move to the UK and that the finance institutions in London may be invited to his country. Macron said, 'The day our relations end, the refugees will no longer be in Calais.'” (March 3)
3) “Russia's Deputy Minister of Development Alexey Likhachev: We rejected all suggestions in relation to taking new measures against Turkey.” (March 3)
However, the “white Turks” are gradually starting to give up hope, but no good will come from this Europe – the Union!
“The Mediterranean is not suitable to remain calm for long. In addition to the tension between the United Nations and Russia, North Africa which has revived again against a hardheaded and less rich South Africa, is creating the possibility of a conflict.
But the most important factor is Turkey's rise. Not on a completely linear line, but while the majority of the countries around it are getting weaker or clashing, it is getting stronger. Turkey is on a rise and within time, this power is going to affect Europe a lot more.” (“European Crisis,” George Friedman, pp. 298-299.)
Two super elections
We now have two elections ahead of us. The Russian elections are planned to take place on September 18, and the US presidential elections will be held on November 8.
There are a high number of Westerners who simply estimate and hope to see a weaker Vladimir Putin in Russia.
As for the US, there are Westerners who want to see a keener president who is more active in the Middle East.
Let us look at a multi-layered quote with many traps.
“Former CIA head Michael Hayden said, 'I must say I have serious concerns regarding Trump. Even if Trump becomes president, the army may not listen to him.' ”
It is obvious Hayden made the statement in the context of foreign policy. Although he did not say “the army will not pay heed to illegal orders,” we would never have thought of an interior policy context!