By Ateet Sharma
New Delhi, Nov 4 (IANS) As new footage of the citizens of Vienna trying to escape from the Islamist terrorist attack yesterday evening continues to surface online, theres another clip which has gone viral – that of Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from three years ago in which he is warning the Europeans of dire consequences.
“If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the world can walk safely on the streets,” Erdogan is seen telling a gathering in Ankara back in March 2017. It seems that in the aftermath of tragedy in Austria, and in Paris before that, many couldn’t help but relate the incidents to the constant vitriol spewed by Erdogan over the years.
Not much has changed since Erdogan uttered those words. His hate speeches, repeated offences, expansionist and provocative moves have only incensed more countries in the continent and beyond. If it were the German and Dutch politicians earlier, whom he had accused of Nazism, then Greece and France are the countries Erdogan is taking head-on right now. A member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, if Turkey feels alienated among allies, it has only Erdogan to blame for the entire mess.
In an interview to German newspaper Bild last month, Nikol Pashinyan, the Prime Minister of Armenia, had warned that if the international community does not react to Turkey’s imperialistic policies, they should be ready to wait for Turkey near Vienna.
“I want to emphasize that in my opinion, Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia are at the forefront of civilization today. If the international community fails to consider the situation accurately, Europe will have to see Turkey in to Vienna,” said Pashinyan while referring to terrorists from Syria being hired and transported by Turkey to join the Azerbaijani aggression against Armenia in the south Caucasus.
His worst fears were realized yesterday when an Islamic State sympathizer went on a deadly shooting spree in Austria’s capital. The formidable danger posed by Turkey to the region is now being discussed more actively on the world forums than ever before.
“Turkish President Erdogan plays an extremely toxic role in this story. He has made a habit of demonizing several European countries. This type of demonization, which comes from a head of state, is like a green light for troops, including those who are not directly linked to his regime. We must be very vigilant with regard to this irresponsibility of the Turkish president who is distilling this populist Islamist discourse,” Mohamed Sifaoui, a journalist-writer-director who specializes in Islamist terrorism and its networks, told French radio network RTL.
That the entire Europe, and not just Austria, France or Greece, is being targeted by the jihadists is now dawning on the leaders of the world. “The enemy, the Islamist terror, wants to split our society, but we will give no space to this hatred,” said Austria’s Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz.
Before yesterday, it was French President Emmanuel Macron who was being accused of “fuelling extremism” for his “Islamists want our future, they will never have it” statement. Now, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has interacted with Erdogan innumerable times recently amid growing tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, has also expressed her shock and spoken about “Islamist terrorism.”
“We Germans stand in sympathy and solidarity with our Austrian friends. The fight against Islamist terrorism is our common struggle,” she said in a statement Tuesday.
While Turkey has condemned the Vienna attack, it remains to be seen how Erdogan would react to these statements coming from all corners of the globe. Just a few days ago, the Turkish president who was called as “the sick man of Europe” by former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and “a madman” by Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, had said that “Macron needs mental treatment,” comments which were labeled as “defamatory” and “unacceptable” by EU members and also severely criticized by India.
Or more interestingly, will his best buddy – Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan – again accuse the European leaders of “creating more hate, Islamophobia and further polarization and marginalization that inevitably leads to radicalization” and write another letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg?
(This content is being carried under an arrangement with indianarrative.com)