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    5. Europe breathes a sigh of relief as Erdogan remains in ..


    Europe breathes a sigh of relief as Erdogan remains in power in Turkey

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been re-elected after the first ever Turkish presidential run. Photo: MURAD SEZER/Reuters

    None of them would ever admit it, but European leaders will breathe a sigh of relief now that Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been re-elected.

    Losing candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu vowed to turn Turkey around back towards the West if he ousts the old autocrat.

    But there are a few prime ministers or presidents who would be thrilled at the prospect of welcoming Ankara back into their ranks after two decades of Erdogan's rule.

    Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban didn't even wait for the official result before congratulating Erdogan on “an undeniable victory in the elections.” Only the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, was faster than the target.

    But Mr. Orban, who has many enemies of his own in Brussels, sees Mr. Erdogan as an ally and a role model.

    Other European leaders were noticeably slower and much less admired by the Turkish president. The ambivalence is mutual.

    Supporters of Recep Tayyip Erdogan celebrate in Istanbul. Photo: Khalil Hamra/AP

    There is no doubt that Mr. Erdogan has caused trouble for NATO. He infuriated members of the Alliance by blocking Sweden from joining the Alliance because of Stockholm's alleged support for dissident Kurds.

    Erdogan's patience was already running out after Turkey's invasion of Syria, which damaged relations with Washington and European capitals. . Joe Biden has long wanted Erdogan to leave.

    In 2019, the then-presidential candidate said that the US must support the Turkish opposition “to fight Erdogan and defeat him.” During this relentless campaign, Erdogan accused Washington of interfering in the elections.

    Unlike most NATO members, Turkey has refused to impose Western-style sanctions on Russia for its illegal invasion of Ukraine. But it was the obnoxious Mr. Erdogan who made the deal with Putin and Vladimir Zelensky to allow Ukraine to ship grain from its Black Sea ports.

    No one on the world stage can boast the success that Mr. Erdogan does—the valuable mediator if and when the time comes to speak of peace.

    Mr. Kilicdaroglu, who has vowed to turn his back on Russia if elected, will never be a match for the president in dealing with Putin. Erdogan dramatically increased the president's powers after a failed coup against him in 2016.

    Republican in Turkey People's Party presidential candidate ( CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu Photo: ADEM ALTAN/AFP

    Mr Kilicdaroglu vowed to reverse these reforms and return to parliamentary democracy and the rule of law, which are much closer to Western European norms. But his plans to revive Turkey's long-stalled EU accession process would be met with barely concealed horror in fortress Europe.

    Even simple visa liberalization has proven elusive in a bloc where even mainstream politicians make their way. into a culture war over the “Islamization” of European “Judeo-Christian” culture.

    EU diplomats suggested that Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu soon learned that Ankara was likely to be given a very cold reception.


    Mr. Erdogan has long rejected Turkey's accession to the EU, having burned his fingers in the past trying to revive an application first filed in 1987.

    That suits Brussels and its member states. Great. The European Union speaks well of democratic values ​​and human rights. But it had no problem paying Mr. Erdogan huge sums to house Syrian refugees during the 2015 migrant crisis.

    Turkey also agreed to accept migrants illegally crossing the Mediterranean in exchange for more money.< /p>

    Mr. Erdogan might not like it. But made himself very helpful.

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