Between East and West: The geopolitical fate of Turkey
Following the attack on a mosque by a terrorist on March 15, there has been an intense debate about the sources of this attack and how to stop the repetition of similar attacks in different parts of the world. The New Zealand attacks were an alarming wake-up call for states to take necessary precautions to prevent violence against Muslims. The attacker in his so-called manifesto frequently targeted Turkey, Turks and Turkey’s president. He was particularly angry about Turkey being a bridge between Asia and Europe. Turkey’s region and the fact that Turkey had lands both East and West were unacceptable for him. He warned in his writings Turks should not cross to the European side of Turkey’s territories. For him, Turkey represents the spoiler of his black and white worldview. He could locate Turkey neither totally in the West nor totally in the East. To reach his goal, he even suggested European countries unite and kick Turkey out of NATO. Accordingly, Turkey should be expelled from the Atlantic alliance and be once again regarded as an enemy force. It is not unfamiliar to hear calls to expel Turkey from the organization. In each and every crisis between the U.S. and Turkey, there are some pundits who suggest this “solution.” While targeting President Erdogan, the attacker once more emphasized the location of the country. He noted that Erdogan is the leader of the largest Islamic group in Europe and his presence generates this power projection. For him, without Erdogan Turkey would be weaker. Together with what he wrote with his automatic rifle he presented an advanced form of Turkophobia. On the one hand, for him Turks represent Muslims in Europe but more significantly Turkey represents multiculturalism, a welcoming attitude to refugees and a bridge between two civilizations. This anger is real and present, and it is a threat to peace in the world.