Delicate Visit of Erdogan to Brussels!


Elections, PKK, Syria, Russia, Refugee Crisis & Relations with EU on the Agenda.

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By Marc Pierini – The trip occurs in the midst of a major international crisis, as Russia is getting in on the act in Syria and asylum seekers continue to surge toward Europe. The visit also comes at a very troubled time in Turkey, where on November 1 a parliamentary election will be held amid a spiral of violence and a sharp deterioration of the rule of law.

This makes for a rather difficult agenda when President Erdoğan meets European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and European Parliament President Martin Schulz in Brussels.

Fighting terrorism, especially the insurgent Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), will be a key feature of President Erdoğan’s narrative. He is fighting a major offensive against the PKK and has the legitimacy to counter the group. No EU leader will say otherwise, as the PKK is on the EU’s list of terrorist organizations. Yet, the current escalation in the conflict comes after almost three years of a so-called Kurdish peace process launched by the president himself, during which time Turkey’s security forces showed considerable restraint in dealing with the PKK, even when provoked.

President Erdoğan will find EU leaders skeptical on two counts. On the one hand, it is obvious that demonizing all the Kurds of Turkey, threatening local Kurdish politicians and journalists, torching or ransacking the offices of the Kurdish-rooted Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) across the country, and disseminating hate speech are political tactics that run the risk of tearing Turkey’s social fabric apart.

This worries the EU and should worry the Turkish president too. [Continue reading full analysis]

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