Austria Stands Down Turkey; More in EU Will Soon Follow Their Lead

Austria Stands Down Turkey; More in EU Will Soon Follow Their Lead

{Update: Original post below from November 2016 warned of the threat from Turkey’s Erdogan. With events in Holland this weekend, it is worth revisiting.}

As Turkey’s Erdogan continues to threaten, belittle, and blackmail Europe, Angela Merkel and many others inside the EU continue down the road of appeasement.  This never turns out well.  As a result, Erdogan has no respect for the EU.  He views their leaders as weak and feeble (he has a point there).

But Austria may be ready to adjust some attitudes.  As we saw with Viktor Orban’s courageous defiance of Merkel’s migrant vision for Europe, all it takes is one strong leader to change the debate. Today, the Balkans and the CEE states are following the path of Hungary and the V4, not Merkel and EUCO.

Now it is Austria that is alone challenging the EU on their naive dealings with Turkey.  Even the V4 seems to be giving Erdogan the benefit of the doubt, for now. However, the EU must realize that one cannot give a tyrant candy and expect roses in return.  Do they not remember how he used a network of criminal smugglers to flood Greece and the EU just months ago?  How he allowed jihadists to use his border as a HUB, with some taking advantage of the lax border to enter Europe as “refugees”?  Do they not hear him threatening to violate the EU border by “busing” thousands of migrants to Bulgaria?  Do they not see the Erdogan horror show in Turkey today?  His support of Islamic terrorists in Syria?

No, the EU is worried about the death penalty in Turkey! Is this their only “red line” in the sand?

However, it only takes one to block EU membership, and Austria has answered the bell.  They are directly challenging Erdogan, as all in Europe should.  This week, Austria passed an arms embargo bill on Turkey (somewhat symbolic, but Erdogan gets their message) and have publicly called for the ending of Turkey membership and visa talks.  In addition, Austria wants to end the Merkel-Erdogan Pact (all know it was largely the Balkan border closing that cut the migrant demand for Greece) by halting all EU funds to Turkey.

This is not only bold, but refreshing.  The EU has economic leverage on Erdogan, and they need to use it or his games will never end.  Almost 50% of Turk exports are to the EU.  Europe could break Erdogan’s ribs with economic blows that would bury his economy.  They can meet Erdogan’s threats with strength by fortifying the Bulgarian and Greek borders, and pulling the migrants back to him.  This is the stand they must take.  Erdogan has claimed his devotion to the migrants; call his bluff.  Economic hardball and sealing the EU external border – not Merkel’s childish “time-outs” – will adjust Erdogan’s attitude.

Merkel and Juncker’s “poems of solidarity” do not work on Erdogan.  They never will, and many in Europe are starting to realize this. The EU is an empty behemoth without a Soul; few will blindly follow it down the wrong path for long.

Austria has taken the first step in the right direction.  They are alone now, but that will change.  Strong leadership backed by courageous action attracts others to a just cause.  Stay strong Austria, soon others will be following you.  You can count on it.