Angela Merkel and Recep Tayyip Erdogan Schicke/Getty Images

Realisme gewenst voor Europa en Turkije

BERLIJN – De relaties tussen Europa en Turkije worden van oudsher door diepe contradictie gekenmerkt. Waar de veiligheidssamenwerking (vooral tijdens de Koude oorlog) en economische banden altijd hecht zijn geweest, zijn de vitale funderingen van de democratie – mensenrechten, persvrijheid, rechten voor minderheden, en een onafhankelijk rechtssysteem dat de rechtsstaat in stand houdt – in Turkije zwak gebleven. Ook de geschiedenis heeft beide kanten verdeeld gelaten, waar het dispuut over de erkenning van de Armeense genocide tijdens de Eerste Wereldoorlog van getuigt.

Nadat de regerende Partij voor Rechtvaardigheid en Ontwikkeling (AKP) onder Abdullah Gül in 2002 aan de macht kwam, en later onder Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, leken deze conflicten te zijn opgelost. Gedurende de eerste jaren in de regering wilde de AKP Turkije bij de Europese Unie en modernisering van de economie. En er werden echte hervormingen afgeleverd; vooral op gebieden, zoals de rechtsspraak, die essentieel waren voor vooruitgang richting EU-lidmaatschap.

Maar Erdoğan hield altijd een ‘neo-Ottomaanse’ optie open, die Turkije richting het Midden-Oosten en de Islamitische wereld zou oriënteren. Dit werd duidelijk in 2007 toen de Duitse bondskanselier Angela Merkel en de toenmalige Franse president Nicolas Sarkozy samen de deur feitelijk dichtgooiden voor Turks EU-lidmaatschap, en op een manier die voor Erdoğan vernederend was.

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