Commentary. Turkey is no longer a bridge between East and West. It’s a hegemonic autocracy that Europe continues to engage.

Erdogan exploits war, imprisonment and blackmail

Sultan Erdogan is on the offensive. After the arrest of the director of Cumhuriyet, the only remaining independent newspaper that has denounced the connivance of the Turkish government with the Islamic State, and after the imprisonment of the two mayors of Diyarbakir, the symbol of Kurdish autonomy, on Saturday night 12 HDP representatives, the People’s Democratic Party, were arrested, along with the two leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yüksekdag.

The HDP is the main Turkish-Kurdish leftist opposition force, the third-leading party with 59 representatives. In the summer of 2014 it disrupted with its mandate the Sultan’s presidential plans.

Erdogan is not satisfied after opening three fronts in Syria, setting up a buffer zone against the YPG’s Syrian Kurds who have been bombarded several times instead of the jihadists. He is now about to intervene in Iraq, in an agreement with the Kurdish leader Barzani in Erbil, who is creating its own state in Iraq disregarding Syrian and Turkish Kurds. This is undermining the fragile unity of the anti-ISIS, U.S.-led coalition which has now reached the outskirts of Mosul. The Baghdad government says that if Ankara joins the front, there will be war in Iraq.

But he has not finished suppressing the failed and very uncertain coup of last July. After the purge of tens and tens of thousands of teachers, journalists and soldiers, now Erdogan openly threatens the European Union, in reply to a timid tweet by Mogherini.

If the Turkish citizens are not receiving European visas as agreed. Ankara will send to Europe the three million refugees it now hosts as a “safe place.”

Nobody can stop the Sultan any more. His repression goes unpunished, not coincidentally against HDP, which proposes a political solution to the conflict with the Kurds.

Erdogan is not a straddling between the West and the East, the historical vocation of Turkey. He is reactivating the Ottoman hegemonic tradition, but at the same time, he belongs to the “democracy” of NATO: He makes wars within its borders and abroad, he imprisons, he uses refugees for blackmail, as if they were a commodity exchange with the E.U. It is a true reflection of Europe’s misdeeds.

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