Elections Approaching, Erdogan Raises the Heat Again With Greece, Turkey’s Relations with Europe Floundering
The day after Turkey’s parliamentary elections that saw a return to power for the ruling AKP, Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said that Turkey was not interested in being part of the EU. “Turkey has no interest in being part of the EU, unless this European Union’s aim is to attack Turkey,” Cavusoglu said.
This statement has been taken as a strong indication that there is no deal between Turkey and Europe that will allow Turkey to join the EU. The EU was willing to give Turkey the same membership benefits granted to Turkey by the UN charter and the Geneva peace conference.
The AKP won the election with a majority of 57 seats in the 550-member Turkish parliament, and the party of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) was elected both as a government and as the largest parliamentary faction. So far, so good for Erdogan.
However, the AKP’s success was not always so clear. The party emerged from a parliamentary election that was riddled with electoral fraud by AKP candidates. Many of the party’s voters were persuaded to vote for the party by false promises of “new order” that would transform the country into a Western-style democracy. This included promises to open up Turkish universities, reduce the power of the military, and scrap the Turkish constitution.
The AKP’s new constitution also created a presidential system of government. It included a president who is directly elected and, if possible, who will be a non-Muslim. This will make the president, unlike the Turkish president of the past 20 years, essentially a creature of the AKP, and a close follower of the AKP’s leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Most EU countries and Turkey’s neighbours have agreed, for fear of an AKP military takeover, that Turkey would remain under the supervision of Turkey’s neighbours as part of the Istanbul Regional Peace Agreement (IRA). So far, this has held the peace. The AKP has also been willing to take on the role of an honest broker in a war between Greece and Turkey on their border.
In return for Turkey’s support for Greece’s stand