Amid Erdogan, Macron row, EU ponders over Turkey dilemma

Edited By: Gravitas desk WION
New Delhi Updated: Dec 04, 2020, 11:43 AM(IST)

Merkel and Erdogan Photograph:( AFP )

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Turkey is the European Union's sixth-largest trading partner. Germany is the largest importer of goods from Turkey. It is also the largest exporter of goods to Turkey.

The European Union does not have the most cordial relationship with Turkey. The two sides have not exactly been enemies but what matters the most is how the European Union deals with Turkey in the future.

Turkey applied for the European Economic Community(EEC) membership in 1959 and the application was accepted. In 1989, Turkey applied for a full membership of the European Union but Europe was not comfortable with the idea of letting Turkey in. It said Turkey is a very populous country. It is also a Muslim country despite calling itself secular.

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Turkey also had disputes over Cyprus, these factors were too big for Europe to ignore. In 2007, France and Germany blocked all negotiation about Turkey's EU membership because Turkey refused to admit its role in the Armenian genocide.

However, the big fall came in 2016 during the failed military coup. As a result of Erdogan's crackdown democracy suffered and Turkey's human rights record worsened.

This year Turkey began calling for a boycott of France since President Erdogan wanted to be a leader of the anti-Frace movement and hoped that it would eventually make him a leader of the Muslim world.

Erdogan wants to be the caliph of the Muslim world and wants Turkey to be a muscle-power Muslim state. Erdogan has drawn on the Ottoman history, fuelled radicalism and conducted business with the ISIS and also fought for the Muslim brotherhood.

The Turkey president fuelled the fight between Armenia and Azerbaijan, bought Pakistan's loyalty with anti-India statements on Kashmir, converted Istanbul's Hagia Sophia into a mosque and now he is trying to mobilise the Muslim states in his favour by spreading hate against France.

Erdogan's goal is to ultimately to unseat Saudi Arabia as the leader of the Muslim world and he is ready to go to any length, even spew religious hate. This is why Europe's dealings with Turkey becomes very important.

Turkey is the European Union's sixth-largest trading partner. Germany is the largest importer of goods from Turkey. It is also the largest exporter of goods to Turkey. Germany also happens to be the current term president of the European Union. In October this year, Berlin opposed sanctions on Turkey for its unilateral energy exploration in contested waters of the eastern Mediterranean 
 
However, a lot has happened since then. Last month, France announced that it would skip the European gymnastic championships in Turkey due to geopolitical tensions. EU's dealings with Turkey will set an example for other countries that are trying to derail the fight against political Islam.

EU's response to Turkey will also suggest how determined and successful Europe is in fighting radical Islam. EU ministers should keep this in mind when they meet on December 10.

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