Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is fast becoming a persistent thorn in Europe’s side. We noted earlier this week the spat that the fiery President engaged in with Holland in regards to the its, and several other European nations, moves to disrupt rallies held in regards to the upcoming Turkish referendum vote. Moves that included the forceful removal of Turkish diplomats that were viewed as agitators for the burgeoning Turkish population of Europe, a demographic that is entitled to dual citizenship within its host nations and in Turkey.
Not backing down from his bravado, Erdoğan has now doubled down on his threat to back out of an agreement between the nation and the E.U. that stipulated that Turkey would accept and integrate a sizable portion of refugees, helping to stem the flow of the migrant tide into Europe. Today, Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu has now brazenly threatened to release upwards of 15,000 refugees a month into Europe, stating “If you want, we could open the way for 15,000 refugees that we don’t send each month and blow the mind”. That mind would of course be that of Europe.
This comes a day after Turkish First Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu threatened the West with taunts claiming that Europe is going to become embroiled in “wars of religion”. This hostile attitude was in response to the outcome of the Dutch elections, where even though noted anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders and his party did not win the vote, the Turk states that Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte carries the same Islamophobic attitudes as his competitor.
Echoing this anti European attitude, Erdoğan, ever the agitator, delivered a rousing speech today while on the campaign trail to muster support for the upcoming vote where he implored the 5 million strong Turkish population of Europe to embrace their role as “the future of Europe”. He encouraged this be telling his fellow Turks to “Have not just three but five children” in order to create a population that outnumbers the native populations of the European nations they now live in.
Erdoğan is now an acute problem for a Europe reeling under the burden of unchecked immigration and a massive number of refugees. Of course his comments will no doubt give even greater credence and validity to the anti-Islam populist movement that is still growing in Europe and will be no doubt seized upon by French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen as well as opponents for German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Europe now has a vested interest to watch the upcoming vote and hope that it fails in order to prevent the possibility of suffering through up to 12 more years of Erdoğan.