A good government knows exactly what lie it has to tell in order to justify controversial or unpopular actions. These lies sometimes are almost unnecessary, given the obvious truth they are trying to cover but are still necessary for diplomatic reasons and purposes. The Netherlands seem to be well aware of such rules of the game and what they gave Turkish president Recep Erdogan was undoubtedly a slap, a slap they made to look like a textbook pat on the back.
Being realists when it comes to politics, especially when analyzing foreign countries, is always essential and leads very often to soft judgements regarding certain policies and events happening in far away lands, as nobody ever wants to be quick to judge and impulsive. But what is happening in Turkey is undeniable even for the most hardcore fan of the live and let live philosophy. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a dictator in the making and, unlike some of his collegues, is making the entire deal quite visible. And Europe’s stance is also quite obvious: The man is to be condemned and cannot be a friend of Europe as long as he behaves the way he does.
Turkish diaspora in Europe reaches its highest peaks in Germany and in the Netherlands, where millions of Turkish citizens (and former citizens) live. These past days Turkish foreign affairs’ minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu was planning political rallies in the Netherlands to promote among the Turkish expats Erdogan’s new stunt: To make it simple, a referendum on a law that would pretty much make him president for life. But the Netherlands said no and prevented Çavuşoğlu from entering the country and go ahead with his planned rallies. The official-untrue reason (although believable): Political propaganda from a foreign country will not be allowed in Dutch territory. The unofficial-real reason: We are giving Erdogan a big slap to the face.
The relationship between the EU and Turkey is at an all time low and Erdogan’s words after what happened did nothing to ease the tension (Nazi was the most used term to describe the Dutch). Considering that it was always in The Netherlands’ rights to prevent the rallies from happening the real reason will not need to go public and while these little act of defiance will not have much of an effect on Turkish politics, it definitely shows that Europe has no intention to be friendly with a man who dreams to be sultan in the 21st century.