The Corner

Clearing Things Up

“Mildly Islamist” (The Economist) Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been explaining what happened in Paris.

The Financial Times reports:

“The duplicity of the west is obvious,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a press conference on Monday evening. “As Muslims we have never sided with terror or massacres: racism, hate speech, Islamophobia are behind these massacres.”

“The culprits are clear: French citizens undertook this massacre and Muslims were blamed for it…”

His AK party colleague, Melih Gokcek, mayor of Ankara (I’m unclear whether he’s “mildly Islamist” or something a teeny bit rougher) has gone further:

“Mossad [the Israeli intelligence service] is definitely behind such incidents . . . it is boosting enmity towards Islam.

The thuggish Erdogan may be an authoritarian on the make, but it is well worth remembering that his AK is a genuinely popular party in Turkey.

Yet this is a nation (and an electorate) that Brussels seems to be believe can be absorbed into an EU where much is decided at the union level, giving Turkey an interesting opportunity to—how shall I put it—involve itself in the politics of all EU member states. That is not going to be good news for the EU’s already much eroded rights of free speech.

But it’s not just Brussels. Obama has supported Turkish membership of the EU.

Here’s what he said back in 2009:

“Turkish membership would broaden and strengthen Europe’s foundation once more.”

Strengthen? How?

And then, of course, there is poor David Cameron, a politician even more out of his depth abroad than at home.

Here (via the Daily Mail) he is in December, repeating a message he has delivered before:

’In terms of Turkish membership of the EU, I very much support that. That’s a longstanding position of British foreign policy which I support.”

And Nigel Farage smiled. 

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