Erdogan says, “Turkey cannot accept Armenian genocide label” and there is no need for a “friendship monument” to remind the country of its more reprehensible past as it looks forward to fulfilling the president’s vision for 2023. Seven years to achieve a dream that is as impossible to achieve as it is to eradicate the past.
Buildings can be reduced to ruins and monuments can be destroyed, however history lives not only in the diaspora, but, through that, throughout the world. And the “vision”? Well, journalists can be imprisoned for “insulting” the president, newspapers can be closed down, Kurds can be slaughtered at home and in Syria, but in a country where two out of three children live in poverty what exactly does the neo-liberal dream of turning the county into the world’s tenth largest economy mean, even if that dream is, of course, unrealistic? Well, for one thing, it means Turkish newspeak. “Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi” , or in English, “the Justice and Development Party” and we are reminded of Orwell’s, “war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength”. The justice is already being attacked and there is no development.
The EU has struck a deal with Turkey. A country where journalists are imprisoned and, when the constitutional court decides they should be released, the state president throws a tantrum, while threatening and criticising the highest legal authority. Indeed, it is with bated breath the fate of the constitutional court and the two journalists being refered to might be awaited, while in the meantime with the list of journalists sitting in prisons throughout the country continuing to grow, opposition newspapers and websites are being closed. ‘Reporters without Borders’ asks, “will the EU let itself be humiliated over media freedom in Turkey?” “Humiliated” is putting it mildly and point 8 of the agreement between the EU and Turkey states that:
“The accession process will be re-energised, with Chapter 33 to be opened during the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union and preparatory work on the opening of other chapters to continue at an accelerated pace.”
In other words, while the Treaty on the European Union states that a country may apply for membership “if it respects the democratic values of the EU and is committed to promoting them,” the accession process for a country which is moving even further away from those values is being “re-energised.”
However, the denial of history and repression in the present will not bring a brighter tomorrow. There will be no European future for a land where sponsored internet trolls seek to silence those that the government has failed to get to, academics are arrested for speaking out, minorities in general cannot express themselves and the cultural survival of the Kurds, the largest minority, is being attacked on a daily basis, and if there is a European future for such a place, there is no future for Europe, other than one where “war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength”.