Turkey's Ties to the West Are in Deep Trouble

As Europe and the United States await the fallout from the April 16 referendum to gauge the future of an important partner, they must also recognize some sad realities about the state of Turkish politics and society.

Speaking at a rally in Istanbul on March 26, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan further escalated his ongoing fight with Europe: "Have you [Europeans] not burned and destroyed my mosques? You are fascists, fascists!" Erdogan's creation of alt-facts, wholesale targeting of all Europeans as "fascists," and bare knuckles fight with European countries initially appear as part of his strategy to mobilize the right-wing voters in Turkey ahead of the April 16 constitutional referendum. If Erdogan wins this referendum, he will become an all-powerful president with control over three branches of government. But I think there is something deeper to Erdogan's anti-European animus. Beyond electoral politics, his incendiary anti-European rhetoric indicates a new phenomenon in Turkey, in which the West has become the enemy...

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