Things are getting even more interesting in Europe this week. (As if we hadn’t already lived to see “interesting times” as it is.) The continued aggression, or oppression if you prefer, taking place in Turkey has attracted the attention of European heads of state. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has not only been disappearing his political enemies at an alarming rate, but he’s been systematically declaring open season on the Kurds both within and outside of his country. Now Sweden would like to have a word with him about it. In fact, if the legislature gets their way they’d like to have a number of words with the Tyrant of Turkey, preferably in a jail cell on war crimes charges involving genocide. (The Independent)
Swedish lawmakers have filed a complaint against the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accusing him of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Five MPs filed the lawsuit with Sweden’s public prosecutor for Mr Erdogan’s role in the bloody conflict between Turkish forces and Kurdish militants since 2015.
The complaint is the first in Sweden to be lodged against a head of state, and also names several other Turkish ministers including the country’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. If it is pursued, it could see an arrest warrant issued against Mr Erdogan.
There’s a big difference between issuing an arrest warrant for Turkey’s president and actually getting him in a jail cell. For the most part, all Erdogan would have to do is simply not show up in Sweden to avoid any problems. If he lands in Germany, France or any other countries who are aligned with Sweden, do you really think that they would honor the warrant and actually try to arrest him? Highly doubtful to say the least.
But the Swedes seem to be somewhat realistic about that point. One member of the Green Party there, Carl Schlyter, is quoted as saying, “If (Mr Erdogan) is hindered from roaming around in Europe and influencing European countries the way he wants, then I hope that this will affect his politics.”
It’s a nice thought, but not much really seems to affect his politics in any way shape or form. Arguably, the much bigger threat to Erdogan is the idea that the European Union won’t offer Turkey membership because of his various autocratic actions. Is that bothering him much? In a recent interview with BBC News, Erdogan stated that the EU is really just wasting Turkey’s time at this point and if they don’t want to offer membership it will come as a comfort to him.
“We are loyal to our word,” he told the BBC. “If the EU, bluntly says, ‘We will not be able to accept Turkey into the EU’ this will be comforting for us. We will then initiate our plan B, and C.
“The European Union is not indispensable for us… We are relaxed.
“Once upon a time when I was in my first term as prime minister, Turkey was being described as a country which has accomplished a silent revolution during European Union leaders summits. But now the same EU not only doesn’t invite us to the leaders’ summits any more – they also waste our time. This is the situation right now.”
There was a time, early in his tenure, when Erdogan seemed to sincerely desire a secure position in the EU in addition to being allowed to join NATO. Now, however, he’s found himself some new friends. They are mostly in Russia, China, Iran, Qatar and North Korea. So if the EU doesn’t want him, he can no doubt solidify both his military and trade alliances with those nations and not worry too much about the rest of the neighbors. As long as Turkey holds the keys to the door of a renewed flood of refugees and immigrants and retains a vital position in the activities in Syria and Iraq, he can remain sure that the west isn’t going to push him too much.
There was a time when Erdogan might have been brought to heel before he could consolidate this much power. Sadly, that ship sailed years ago.