Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Psychopathy of Recep Tayyip Erdogan

"The Turkish community and our citizens were subject to bad treatment, with inhumane and humiliating methods used in disproportionate intervention against people exercising their right to peaceful assembly."
Turkish ministry sources statement

"We are doing exactly what they did to us. We are not allowing planes carrying Dutch diplomats or envoys from landing in Turkey or using our airspace."
"Those creating this crisis are responsible for fixing it."
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus

"[We do not foresee the row having serious short-term economic consequences]. However, if the tension escalates and if countries start imposing sanctions against each other, it might have serious implications for the Turkish economy."

Ozgur Altug, chief economist, BGC Partners, Istanbul
Riot police clash with demonstrators in the streets near the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam, Netherlands March 12, 2017. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems to become easily confused when it comes to strategizing to his best advantage. On the one hand, he is eager to incite the 400,000 Turks living in the Netherlands, along with the 1.5-million in Germany to outrage that their country of origin is being so ignominiously treated by European countries that they will react by voting in favour of the referendum that will allow him to change the Turkish constitution to confer greater powers with his presidency.

On the other he is alienating the very nations that his own country is so dependent on for its economic fortunes at a time when the Turkish economy is teetering. He made the same error in dealing with Russia, ordering a Turkish warplane to shoot down a Russian jet that he claimed had entered Turkish airspace unauthorized, then was finally unctuously grateful to Vladimir Putin for forgiving his stupid transgressions after Russia imposed economic sanctions and a moratorium on Russian tourism to Turkey.

In similar vein, the apoplectic Erdogan has mislaid the memory of the vital data of Turkish exports totalling $3.6-billion to the Netherlands in 2016, the country representing the tenth largest market for goods out of Turkey. In turn Turkey imported $3-billion in Dutch goods that same year. The fact that the Dutch represent an important tourist draw at a time when Turkish tourism is in the dumps thanks to Islamic State attacks will most certainly mean that the 900,000 Dutch people who visited Turkey last year will refrain from doing so this year.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan is on the war path, and that in pursuing his aspiration to rule Turkey like a Sultan of old, is ignoring the fact that Europe now views him as severely deficient in democratic values. Europe was never quite convinced that Turkey's values merited consideration as the 29th member of the European Union, an inclusion that Erdogan still seeks, even though he reviles Europe and threatens to re-open the floodgates of Syrian refugees into Europe by land, if not by sea.

Ankara demands a meek apology, written and officially supine to make amends for the scurrilous treatment of its diplomats in Rotterdam; the Turkish foreign ministry is as adamant as its president on that score. And should it not be forthcoming, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Austria can all go down on their trembling knees to plead for reconciliation, but it will be sternly denied. An insult is an assault on Turkish sensibilities and Turkey is nothing if not proud of its honour.

Turkey's chief government spokesman was quite clear; not only will Turkey turn the spigot of flow of migrants back to Europe, but all high-level government meetings would be suspended between the two countries until the Netherlands had adequately atoned for its unforgivable 'fascist' behaviour. And the threat to take the Netherlands to an international court still stands and there Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte can explain his Nazi proclivities."Nazism, we can call this neo-Nazism. A new Nazism tendency."

As for Germany, claimed Erdogan, it was "supporting terrorists" since it had failed to act on 4,500 files forwarded by Turkish authorities to German intelligence with respect to terror suspects. "Mrs. Merkel, why are you hiding terrorists in your country?" he charged, and it isn't entirely clear whether he is referring to the Turkish citizens residing in Germany, faithful to Turkey and suspect of terrorism ties; perhaps they, like their country of origin support Islamic State...?

People, holding a banner with a picture of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, shout slogans during a protest in front of the Dutch Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, early March 12, 2017. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

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