18.01.2015 Author: Vladimir Odintsov

Imperial Ambitions of the EU are on the Rise

EU435345345As of recently the European Union has not just been blindly obeying orders from Washington, but in fact has been mimicking the quasi-imperial policy of the United States. Therefore, political dictatorship has become the governing trend among EU politics, with real political discussions being substituted with dictatorship. Therefore, it’s clear that the EU in its current state fails to recognize that non-EU states can or should be allowed to dictate their own development, based on their own national values, preferences, and their own approaches to national security.

Once a state signs an Association Agreement with the European Union, the EU demands it obey its imperial dictates in politics, trade, social and cultural aspects, along with forcing it to align with its security policies. Such “integration” basically transforms the new associate state into an obedient vassal with no trace of independent national sovereignty. The most striking example of this imperial approach is the EU actions against Turkey in 2014.

Turkey, being a founding member of the Council of Europe, over the past 50 years has made a number of attempts to integrate itself into the EU, and has even become an associate member of the EU back in 1963. Although the country has officially applied for full membership in 1987, it hasn’t been provided with any definite answer. Therefore Turkish membership remains one of the most pressing matters in post-war Europe. An influential player in the region hasn’t been allowed in despite its healthy economy and the fact that Turkey is the second largest armed force in NATO. Over the last decade Turkey has repeatedly (and unsuccessfully) demanded a definite answer from the EU concerning its membership.

In response to this often disrespectful and dismissive attitude from Brussels, the Justice and Development Party has chosen to work in close collaboration with neighboring countries, especially with Russia, along with other BRICS countries, which may allow Turkey to become something more than just a regional power, which has long been a goal of many Turkish politicians. In December 2014 Russia’s President visited Turkey, which led to a number of contracts regarding bilateral trade and economic and energy cooperation, giving significant momentum to the development of Turkish-Russian relations for the foreseeable future along with indisputable economic benefits for both nations.

However, such a step,since not approved by Brussels, has resulted in a number of outraged senior EU politicians visiting Ankara on short notice. The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, the European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, and the European Commissioner on Humanitarian Aid and Management of Crises Christ Stilianidi all went to Turkey to express their displeasure with its policies. Those officials received explicit orders from Washington and Brussels to prevent the rapprochement between Turkey and Russia, which stands to directly contradict the imperial interests of the EU.

AsTurkey takes a principled and pragmatic position refusing to follow Western dictates, the West is launching attempts to initiate anti-government protests in the Turkish capital and a number of other large cities through the use of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and social media. A total of 30 high-profile instigators were used to provoke riots in Turkey, including the editor-in-chief of the Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman, Ekrem Dumanlı, The Head of Samanyolu Media Group, Hidayet Karaca along with a number of producers of Samanyolu TV-channel, the former head of the Istanbul Police Department for Combating Terrorism, Tufan Ergyuder together with a number of senior police officers of several Turkish provinces. Also playing an active part in organizing anti-government demonstrations was a preacher of “moderate Islam” and a “reformer of the Turkish state” Fethullah Gülen, who performs sermons and provides advice on the most pressing issues in Turkey from the United States, where this “avid Turkish patriot” has lived on a regular basis since 1999. In order to keep the situation under control local law enforcement agencies conducted a series of arrests of the above mentioned “activists”. This step allowed Ankara to effectively stem the West from staging new “color revolutions” in Turkey, provoking further outrage and frustration in both Washington and Brussels, followed by a wave of harsh statements against Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan.

President Tayyip Erdogan reacted harshly to EU criticism of recent police operations that targeted members of the press affiliated with the movement of Fethullah Gülen. He pointed out that Turkey will defend itself: “I wonder if those who have kept this country at the EU doorstep for 50 years know what this step means? Elements that threaten our national security will receive the necessary response, even if they are members of the press,” he said. “When taking such a step we don’t care what the EU might say, or if the EU is going to accept us. We don’t care… Please keep your mind to yourself.” – said Turkish President. He added that a number of European states, including Germany would be better off combating terrorist cells of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, along with xenophobia and racism within their borders.

A very similar imperial approach was demonstrated this December by the EU regarding yet another associate member – Egypt. Egyptian authorities have decided to adopt a decision to close a political group that was affiliated with to the Free Democratic Party of Germany (FDP) sponsored by Friedrich Naumann, the main objective of the closed group was “the strengthening of civil society by paying particular attention to the impact of the public debate.” With imperial hubris, German authorities ignored new Egyptian laws regarding NGOs, which would require Berlin to re-register the Friedrich Naumann fund in Egypt, therefore the German Foreign Ministry summoned the Egyptian ambassador to “provide explanations.”

One should note that tension is growing amid German-Egyptian relations due to a number of political funds that “have overstayed their welcome” in Egypt. Two years ago the Konrad Adenauer fund was “persecuted” by Egyptian authorities, this time around it was close to the yet German party – Christian Democratic Union of Germany headed by the Chancellor Angela Merkel. Representatives of the fund had fled Egypt under the threat of impending arrest. However, one German representative of this German fund was successfully sentenced to five years in prison. It is possible that due to the top-down attitude of German officials this scandal may end in a similar fashion.

What can one do about it? The world is changing rapidly and the quote: “We are not slaves, slaves do not we!” – is becoming increasingly popular especially at times when Washington and Brussels try to hide their imperial ambitions behind democratic rhetoric.

Vladimir Odintsov is a political commentator, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.