For centuries, Europe dominated the world. In 1800, one in five people in the world lived in Europe, a century later almost one in four. The next century Europe’s share was cut in half and this will likely happen again in the century to come. From historical perspective, Europe was leading in terms of progress, innovations and discoveries. For how long still? Europe turned into an aging continent, is lagging in education and competitiveness and has its focus turned inwards. Europe does not have a lot of time anymore for re-inventing itself. Energy spent on internal disputes is basically a waste of time.
All but two countries in Europe have declining populations. The only two with inclining population are Kosovo and Albania. No prejudice, just facts. Turkey is the third, if you are willing to -yet or still- count Turkey as European. Europe’s share of the world’s population will cut in half if you compare the world of your parents with the world of your grandchildren. It is fair to say that Europe is edging towards the wrong end of global relevance. The best odds Europe has to still matter in the world of your grandchildren is to stand together and unite.
Algeria left the European Economic Community when it declared itself independent from France in 1962. Greenland followed suit in 1985. The most recent ‘exit’ was by the island of Saint-Barthélemy, part of the EU as outermost region of France. After seceding from Guadeloupe a decade ago, it requested to “obtain a European status which would be better suited to its status under domestic law, particularly given its remoteness from the mainland, its small insular economy largely devoted to tourism and subject to difficulties in obtaining supplies which hamper the application of some European Union standards”. Now thát sounds familiar.
The Friday Night Coup in Turkey triggered Erdogan to have Turkey sweeped from what he refers to as hostile elements to the state. What started as an operation aimed to pinpoint members of military and police who were allegedly involved in the coup, has now become a widespread witch hunt. Yesterday’s target was the judiciairy apparatus, today the focus is on the educational system. Be not surprised if arts & culture are next. This cleaning of the Turkish society goes along ideological lines, not ethnical or religious ones. That does not make it less dangerous, not at all.
Commemorating the casualties of the Friday night’s coup attempt, thousands of Erdoganistas gathered for a funeral in Istanbul. What was the response of Erdogan, present at the event, when the crowd demanded reinstating of the death penalty in Turkey? Choose from the following options: A) “Not even Putin does that”, B) “Forget it, that is such an American thing to do”, C) “My friends, I understand your frustration, but the death penalty is no destination on the path forward I have in mind for Turkey”, or D) “We hear your request. In a democracy, whatever the people want they will get.”