In a sign of Europe’s relative decline in the world, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan did not mention Turkey’s EU accession plans during his party’s most recent congress this past Sunday. Today’s Zaman reads the tea leaves:
Not mentioning such major political goals as reforms and EU membership was indeed attention-grabbing, and the prime minister notably saluted countries from Australia to Brazil and Japan to Canada while not naming any European country.
Gone are the days when European leaders would wring their hands over whether or not to let Turkey into their club. No longer are the Turks peering over Europe’s fences hopefully and longingly. With wave after wave of crisis battering the EU, Turkey has to be wondering why it should even bother pretending they want to join. Today’s Turkey is an economic success story and is increasingly flexing its muscles in its own back yard. Who needs Europe?
This is a historic shift—and one that Europeans will very likely soon come to rue.