Brexit – A view from Turkey

Brexit has made Turkey more important to the West


The Brexit campaign made a big issue about the unlikely scenario of a Turkey imminently joining the EU and 80 million Turks suddenly migrating to their island. At least some of the “leave” votes on Thursday must have been cast due to that fear. And paradoxically, Brexit made Turkey more important. Why? Because it has destabilized post-1945 Europe, and I think Turkey could help re-stabilize it. Let me elaborate.

Brexit was about migration, and lo, more migrants are coming, and will continue to come due to the unrest in the Muslim world. Ever since this flood of migrants across the Aegean, Turkey has become the gatekeeper of our mutual civilizations. The Schengen zone means that there is no way to stem the tide once the migrants are inside EU borders. That means that the EU’s borders can only be secured from the “near outside.” That near outside is Turkey.

All this means that the stability of Turkey is ever more important for the stability of Europe as we know it. Stability here has both political and economic dimensions. Turkey’s economic well-being is now in the interests of all of Western civilization, since only an economically and politically viable Turkey can integrate more migrants and control the tide of migrants to the West. I see this as a solid basis for confidence-building between Turkey and the EU. This is just the short-term issue, mind you.

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