When Europe Is No Longer Europe

The decision of the the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has shot itself in the foot with a very “puzzling” decision on Turkey.

Despite fighthing three major terror organizations, PKK, DAESH AND FETÖ, Turkey has made remarkable progress only a week ago by initiating a democratic referendum. The Turkish people voted “yes” to transform their political system into a stronger presidential system with clear separation of powers and checks and balances.

It is not surprising to see the PACE decision come to fore as a result of the successful referendum in Turkey. With this decision it has become very clear that PACE is not just biased. PACE is also uninformed.

Time and again, Turkey is put into a position to defend the legitimacy and strength of its democratic institiutions. Yet, Europe continues to turn away from the truth while being caught up in the prejudiced and hate campaign against a full-fledged Muslim Democracy.

In this debacle, Europe is the sole responsible actor causing a drift between Turkey and Europe which is in fact only causing further deterioration of its own image.

Europe is no longer a self-professed representative of freedoms but is now associated by many as the land of Islamophobes and xenophobes. Syrian refugees are unwelcome and treated as outcasts in the same manner Turkey is being treated awfully for being Muslim in character.

Europe is no longer the land of the free or the enlightened. It has become a prisoner of its own enmity. This will cost Europe more than it could do any harm to Turkey. Here are some reasons why:

  • European values and norms rooted in the Enlightenment era are no longer universal. The emphasis on moral values, individual rights and rationality are pillars continously being weakened under European politicians’ wreckless speech and racist slurs. In the New Age of Europe state leaders and politicans no longer represent acceptance and respect for differences but have become the hub of bigotry.
  • Currently, Europe is not just turning a blind eye to terrorsim but, is openly harboring terrorist organization members within Europe and allowing terror propaganda to be disemminated.
  • In the meanwhile, the Syrian refugee cases across Europe are harrowing due to marginalization and indifference to terrible conditions the refugees are surviving in. Pope Francis’ comparison of Syrian refugees in European camps to those of the Nazi concentration camp calls attention to the dire need to change European attitude towards refugees. The point is not to downplay the atrocity of the Nazi concentration camps but to create an epiphany to discern the dreadful case of the refugees in European countries. Today, refugees in Europe are viewed as the ‘other.’ They are not expected to preserve their distinctness. Instead they are expected to become European and accept Western modernity in appearance, mindset and speech while conceding to be dubbed the “other” within. For many of them who have strong faith and deep ties to their social and historical roots, they face disparagement for not giving up on their identity.

European countries unlike Turkey, have a much bigger problem on their plate. Turkey is a melting pot of many different traditions, languages, religions and there is also a diversity of cultures despite being a Muslim majority country. This is what makes Turkey an eclectic country of acceptance and tolerance.

On the other hand, Europe whose goal historically has been to expand its values beyond borders and become the “leader of the civilized world” has failed to do so. This is mainly due to the reality that Europe’s enriched intellectual endeavor, as expansive and universal as it may seem, was never geared towards diversification within the confines of Europe. The ‘other’ is always demanded to be assimilated and become its European ‘counterpart.’ The danger that lies in Europe is the very reason of its existence. Europe deems itself as the ‘civilized, advanced and therefore the marker of correctness.’

Turkey wilfully challenges this dogma and continues to act upon the principles of uprightness. With an invigorated democracy and support of popular will, Turkey is teaching Europe an important lesson.

“Europe, it is time to change.”