Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:58AM
Protestors wave Turkish national flags as they shout slogans during a demonstration late on March 11, 2017 in front of the consulate of the Netherlands in Istanbul.(Photo by AFP)
Protestors wave Turkish national flags as they shout slogans during a demonstration late on March 11, 2017 in front of the consulate of the Netherlands in Istanbul.(Photo by AFP)

Turkey and the Netherlands have been moving on a collision course, with the events of the past few days testing the two NATO member states’ diplomatic relations. Press TV has asked investigative journalist David Lindorff to offer his analysis of how the current crisis is going to play out in light of Turkey’s strained ties with the European Union.

Lindorff believes that the simmering tension between Turkey and the Netherlands is a sign that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is falling apart.

“It is fascinating because if you recall Turkey and the Netherlands are both members of NATO. What we are seeing is signs of a fracturing of NATO gradually, particularly when it comes to Turkey which is being viewed increasingly negatively by most of the other NATO nations in Western Europe and particularly the original NATO nations,” he stated.

Lindorff also noted that NATO is already under a lot of strain, and therefore “a real blowup” between two members was the last thing this organization needed.

“So it really looks to me like the beginning of things falling apart, both for NATO and for the EU,” he said.

Turkey’s EU accession talks have largely failed since the country formally applied to be part of the European Union several decades ago. Late last year, the European Parliament voted to suspend membership negotiations with Turkey over human rights and rule of law concerns. The vote was largely symbolic.

The analyst further noted that there are several impediments to Turkey becoming a member of the European Union such as the death penalty and the crackdown on press, not to mention that a lot of Europeans are also becoming “disenchanted” with the whole notion of a wider EU.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is creating a kind of “dictatorial situation” by enhancing his executive powers, Lindorff said in reference to the upcoming constitutional referendum which seeks to extend the president’s mandate and give him wide-ranging political powers. 

“So a one-party rule and a very powerful executive [branch] kind of flies in the face of what the post-World War II tradition is in Europe. So it is really pushing things. The more power Erdogan tries to pull into his own hands, the harder it is to have Turkey in the EU,” he said in conclusion.