The Sunday’s referendum in Turkey has bitterly divided the country. Tayyip Erdogan declared victory with a modest 51.5% despite the aggressive campaign of the last weeks. The voters of the big cities, and the Kurdish southeast voted against Mr. Erdogan, while Anatolia’s voters were in favor.
Nevertheless, Turkey has entered a new era, with President Erdogan ready for sweeping changes in all aspects of politics. He will have the power to appoint the cabinet and a great number of vice-presidents, select and remove senior civil servants, among them judges, without the approval of the Parliament, which will have no power at all.
One of the top priority issues is going to be the relations with the EU. Relations hit low during the referendum campaign with Germany Holland, Austria and France, with President Erdogan calling the Europeans as “Nazi”.
The next day of his election the Turkish president repeated his threat for a new referendum on death penalty, which is completely non-acceptable in EU countries.
However, he declared ready to postpone -not suspend- the accession talks, giving the blame for a potential suspension of the talks only to Europeans.
This attitude unveils Erdogan political will to create a new form of EU-Turkey relations, without the restrictions of the access talks. His heavy “weapon” remains the migration issue, as long as the European governments look frustrated and divided on the issue. On the other hand, Europeans, in this new form of relations will certainly use their economic power on Turkey (EU is the main commercial partner of Turkey with bid investment projects).
If that is the case Greece will soon be face a new problem in her tangled relations with Turkey. For more than two decades Athens has based her doctrine on the amelioration of EU-Turkey relations, with strong preconditions met by Ankara, mainly in favor of Cyprus, as well as Greece.
This doctrine, will be revised, at least.