EU must take action against Erdoğan's appetite for destabilising region - analyst

The time has come for the European Union to take a stand against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose criminal domestic practices and his foreign misadventures are posing an increasing threat, professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU, Alon Ben-Meir, said in Modern Diplomacy on Saturday.

Turkey’s strongman regularly blackmails EU members, supports extremist Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, and is destabilising many countries like Libya, and Syria, Ben-Meir wrote.

In March, Turkey announced that it would no longer stop refugees from crossing into neighbouring Greece, with Erdoğan warning that "millions" of migrants and refugees would soon head towards Europe. The threat followed an escalation of the Syrian conflict, which led to the threat of a surge in Turkey’s Syrian refugee population.

Turkey maintains military presence in Syria and Iraq, citing Kurdish armed groups operating in the embattled Middle Eastern countries. Ankara is also accused of deploying contracted Syrian fighters to support the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in war-torn Libya since last year.

“A close look at Erdogan’s conduct clearly illuminates his ultimate ambition to restore much of the Ottoman Empire’s influence over the countries that were once under its control,” the analyst wrote.

But the EU opted to convince itself that Turkey is critically important from a geostrategic perspective, he added, which Turkey’s strongman is masterfully exploiting.

Ben Meir said putting an end to Erdoğan’s ways would be easier following a victory by U.S. Presidential nominee Joe Biden, who is sure to boost cooperation with the EU in ending his authoritarianism and foreign adventurism.

Biden has gone on record to call the Turkish president "autocratic,’’ while expressing his resolve for supporting the Turkish opposition.

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