The Malta Independent 3 March 2024, Sunday
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Editorial: Taking care of Turkey

Tuesday, 3 January 2017, 10:50 Last update: about 8 years ago

The strategy at the back of the terror attack in the Istanbul nightclub on New Year’s Day is quite easy to understand.

It aims at destabilizing Turkey and to render Turkey open to Isis and terrorist infiltrations.

This can be seen by the long list of terror attacks in Turkey just in 2016. The cumulative aim is to turn Turkey into a failed state, just as it has succeeded in doing so to Libya.

In both cases, the task of Isis and the terrorists has been made easier by divisions inside the country. In Turkey, the failed coup last summer has led to a fierce government repression while the feud with the Kurds is unrelenting.

Just as in Libya, and perhaps even more so, what happens over there is of great importance to us. This is not just because Turkey is doing a huge favour to the EU and Europe in general by keeping hundreds of thousands of refugees inside its borders (for which it is amply remunerated by the EU under pressure by Angela Merkel) but also because of what Turkey is in itself.

Let us not forget that Turkey is a candidate to join the EU and that this aspiration has been the reason why Turkey has introduced so many liberalizing measures over the past years.

We agree that right now there is next to no chance that the EU opens up to a membership by Turkey, and that the approach towards the EU has been stalled these past years.

But we must not forget that Turkey, even today’s Turkey under an Islamist-favouring government, is still the heir of Kemal Ataturk and his modernising, Westernising, regime.

On the streets of Istanbul, perhaps more than on the streets of Ankara, women wear western clothes and a Western style of living is more often than not adopted. In fact, the night club which was attacked on NYE was packed with people eager to celebrate the new year in typical Western way.

It is for this reason that the EU must move to protect Turkey. Russia, which is a European power, has already taken steps to do so and it would be bad if the EU were to leave Russia as the only ally it can see in this hour of need. The US under Trump will move in this direction too.

With Malta as the President of the EU in these six months, much is being asked from us, even when the new year and the presidency is only two days old. So far we have had the ritual messages of condolences and support. But we must do more. When in the coming days the EU machine starts running again and ministers start to meet, Malta must be the voice that tells the EU to look at the big picture rather than at the narrow and national version of things.

The aim of IS is to see the breakdown of Turkey. Therefore the aim of Malta and the EU must be to support Turkey in this hour of need.


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