Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bildt Romances the Turks

Two days too late for Valentine’s Day:  Yesterday’s Local  quotes Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt as saying, ”Turkey and the EU need each other.” Very romantic, but would it be more accurate to add:Like a hole in the head”?
Lately it seems that Turkey is more interested in playing the “big fish” in the Islamic world “pond”. Recent events only reinforce Turkish leader Erdogan’s leading position in the Islamic world. Many big fish in the Middle East today are wondering if they will get thrown out, as a number of shake-ups may follow the fall of Mubarak in Egypt. Erdogan, who continues to move Turkey away from a secular path and towards an Islamic regime, is one of the few leaders sitting fairly securely in office.
Does being a strongman in the Islamic world make Turkey a better partner for the EU? It is unclear how this would work. Erdogan, striving to extend his influence, has cautioned Turkish émigrés in Europe not to assimilate into European society, but to remain Turkish.
On the other hand, Bildt (Moderate Party) has shown support for the Gaza Flotilla, of which many “cruisers” were Turkish IHH members bent only on jihad—the Mavi Marmara carried no aid cargo whatsoever. Nonetheless, Bildt admired the jihadist initiative and lionized Swedish participants. Despite attempts to portray the Gaza Flotilla as a “human rights” mission, the record is clear and public. The Turkish media gave IHH a platform  for their twisted agenda, and the propaganda movie to match.
Additionally, the Local reports that Bildt wants “to have Sweden join the United Nations Human Rights Council.”

The article continues:
-“Meanwhile, Bildt explained that Sweden's foreign development aid policies would centre on fighting poverty through fostering a sustainable and fair development of human rights, democracy, and a strong civil society.”

Turkey is a country which brutally represses its Kurdish minority, was responsible for the massacre of the Armenians—a historical fact which it denies, and currently continues to occupy northern Cyprus. How does Bildt reconcile these inconvenient truths with his romantic vision of a European Union with Turkey, and Sweden’s ambition to occupy the moral high ground of human rights?

Bildt is critical of Belarus, “where the brutal attacks during the presidential election were a serious setback to efforts towards freedom, democracy and human rights in Europe."  Yet on the issue of Turkish human rights abuses, Bildt is hypocritically silent.

Bildt also neglects issues at home—in Swedish cities today, the threat of anti-Semitic brutality forces Jews to pay for extensive security arrangements and hide their identities, civil security is denied as vandalism and violent crime contribute to lawlessness in immigrant neighborhoods, and the Swedish government deports Iraqi Christians back to areas where Islamists terrorize the Christian population.

Shouldn’t Bildt and his fellow ministers work on cleaning up at home—instead of inviting guests with more human rights issues?

Pictured: Bildt as a Young Turk?

By Chanah Shapira

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