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  • Konrad Werner: Coddling Erdogan, Europe’s Trump


Konrad Werner: Coddling Erdogan, Europe’s Trump

You wonder what a Trump presidency will be like? Basically Turkey but with nuclear weapons.

Image for Konrad Werner: Coddling Erdogan, Europe's Trump
Photo by Kremlin.ru (CC BY 4.0)

Is there a small demon part of you secretly wondering how bad things can get? Maybe one day our great nieces and great nephews and foster children will sit at our feet and ask what it was like to live through a Trump presidency, when we all hid under a table and tried not to snigger at him about his tiny hands, and through that wretched era when Britain imploded its own economy and public services and was reduced to a sad little de-industrialized hovel island cut off from the rest of Europe.

We will have mind-boggling stories to tell, and they will respect us, all those calves and foals with their innocent futures ahead of them, just like we respected our grandparents more than our parents because they could remember the Second World War.

Luckily, for other people out there with a secret apocalyptic longing, you can already imagine what a Trump presidency will be like just by moving to Turkey, which is already being governed by a paranoid hate-mongering child who gets really sensitive when anyone accuses him of fucking a goat.

Angela Merkel is catching a lot of flak for accommodating Turkish president Recep Erdogan at the moment, but it’s hard to deal with grown man in a permanent strop. Literally nothing you do can assuage someone who’s that sensitive.

Last week, Erdogan gave a particularly unhinged speech after the Bundestag voted in favour of recognizing the mass murder of Armenians in 1915 as genocide. (German president Joachim Gauck first used the word over a year ago on the occasion of the 100th anniversary.) While the rest of the world was thinking, “about a hundred years too late, but good,” the Turkish president suggested that the 11 German MPs with Turkish roots who voted in favour of the resolution “should have a blood test in a laboratory.”

Those 11 MPs have now been placed under police protection and advised by the Foreign Ministry not to travel to Turkey, after thousands of Erdogan supporters sent them death threats. People tweeted out a call to put a bullet in Cem Özdemir’s head, while someone else offered €25,000 to have the family of Left party MP Sevim Dagdelen murdered.

Is this what politics is now? Nationalist leaders say something vicious and racist and all his little minions do the rest on Twitter. The world is reverting back to the 19th century, ruled by nation state identity politics and trade wars. It’s all a bit depressing. Still, it might make for some good stories one day.