Europe Facing Turkey: ideals versus realpolitik.

Recep-tayyip-erdogan.jpgDoes Europe need Turkey more than Turkey needs Europe?

Since the aftermath of the failed coup of July 15 Recep Erdogan has been purging the military and the civil society alike, in his quest to “cleanse the country from viruses”.

And Europe is struggling to find its position toward Turkey shift toward an authoritarianism regime.

Cleaning the viruses.

The viruses Erdogan refers to are the supporters of Fethullah Gülen. Gülen, a former imam, and politologist, used to be one of Erdogan’s closest aides until their alliance fell apart in 2013 over the corruption charges brought against the President

Since then, Gülen has been living in the U.S in a self-imposed exile, but the movement named after his remains very active in Turkey. They own media, run schools, professional associations, and business activities. They represent the strongest opposition to Erdogan and his party.

Already in 2014 and 2015 Erdogan had tried to silence the movement, by arresting more than 20 journalists linked to Gülen. But he had to eventually back down after both the US and the EU cautioned him not to overstep the boundaries of democracy. Now, the failed coup has given him the perfect chance to complete the unfinished business of 2015.

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