Armenian Weekly
March 16, 2022

Erdogan exploits war in Ukraine to push for Turkey’s membership in European Union
Harut Sassounian

In the midst of the Ukraine-Russia War, a few leaders have made questionable statements to take advantage of the chaotic situation and push for their selfish agendas.

As soon as Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdogan learned that the Ukrainian government had asked for “immediate accession” to the European Union (EU), he made the same request for Turkey.

During a joint press conference with President Osmani-Sadriu of Kosovo earlier this month, Erdogan hypocritically said: “We appreciate the efforts to get Ukraine EU membership. But I ask the EU members, why does Turkey’s membership in the EU worry you?” He called on the EU to show the Turkish request the “same sensitivity” as that of Ukraine and arrogantly slammed EU member states for being “not sincere.” Erdogan flippantly asked: “Will you put Turkey on your agenda when someone attacks (us) too?” He then complained: “Why don’t you give the military equipment needed by Turkey?” What for? To attack and kill more people and occupy more countries?


Turkey does not comply with most EU criteria for membership. It has had several military coup d’états and attempted coups, in addition to its anti-democratic regime which in fact is a dictatorship. Turkey has violated just about every human rights law, including the wholesale jailing of journalists, shutting down the free press, supporting Islamist terrorists, massacring Kurds, desecrating Christian churches, occupying Northern Cyprus, intervening militarily in Syria, Northern Iraq and Libya, aiding Azerbaijan to occupy Artsakh [Nagorno-Karabakh]….


When Erdogan sheepishly asked if Turkey would also be considered for EU membership “when someone attacks us too,” in reality no one has attacked Turkey, but Turkey has attacked plenty of other countries.

Regrettably, the tragic suffering of the Ukrainian people during the Russian war is not a unique phenomenon. There have been countless such brutal wars and mass murders throughout history. One should not forget the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire from 1915-23, resulting in the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians; the invasion and occupation of Northern Cyprus by Turkey in 1974 which is still continuing; the Turkish incursion into Northern Syria; and the war on Artsakh by Azerbaijan and Turkey in 2020, committing barbaric war crimes during which the world remained silent when hospitals, schools and civilian apartments were bombed, and children and women butchered. There were no sanctions against Turkey or Azerbaijan, no around the clock media coverage of the atrocities, and no military or economic assistance to Armenia and Artsakh.


Mustafa Destici, head of the Turkish nationalist Great Unity Party and an ally of Erdogan’s government, warned that after Ukraine, Russia will target Kars and Ardahan, two cities in Western Armenia occupied by Turkey. “If you see Russia on our borders later, do not be surprised,” said the Turkish party leader.

Similarly, the chair of the opposition Turkish IYI Party Meral Akshener chimed in: “Who can claim that Turkey is safe? Who can say that the missing pieces in Putin’s mind are not Kars, Ardahan and Erzurum [Garin]?”

These are obviously bombastic statements. Russia has no such intentions….