Erdogan Plays 'Blackmail Games' With EU
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems to believe that he can call the shots in his dealings with the EU because Brussels needs Ankara if it wants to tackle the refugee crisis, Germany's N-TV television news channel asserted, calling Erdogan's strategy "a bitter game of political blackmail."
The media outlet compared Erdogan's behavior to that of a shopper at a supermarket. The Turkish president, according to N-TV, has constantly been asking for more, but failed to deliver much.
Some of his demands and initiatives include additional $3.3 billion in aid, building a new refugee city in Syria, asking Germany to take refugees directly from Turkey, carte blanche to deal with the Kurds, as well as the facilitation of trade and visa requirements with the EU.
Erdogan is negotiating from a position of strength. For this reason the Turkish president, according to the media outlet, "could get anything short of joining the European Union" while doing whatever he wants at home, including the takeover of the leading opposition newspaper in Turkey.
"It is as if Erdogan wanted to teach a lesson to European leaders," Zaman's Brussels bureau chief Selcuk Gultasli wrote in an opinion piece for the EUobserver, describing what happened days before the Turkey-EU summit in four months as "a slap in the face of European values."
Many have pointed to alarming trends in Turkey. Erdogan, according to N-TV, has led a "brutal war against the Kurds in his own country and in Syria. He is trying to establish a new Ottoman Empire; his aggressive policy has triggered the flow of refugees and he is now taking an advantage of this situation."