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Dutch dust up with the Turks

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  • Dutch dust up with the Turks

    There is an interesting conflict brewing between the Netherlands and Turkey this weekend....

    It began with the Turks, who where trying to hold a rally in support of Erdogans latest power grabbing Constitutional amendments. Erdogan is becoming ever more erratic, and frankly problematic for the West ever since the failed coup last year. The Turkish Foreign Minster wanted to fly to Rotterdam for the rally, which Dutch frowned upon, banning him from landing. They then snuck another minister in by car, until the Dutch caught wind of it, and forced her out of the country. This of course sparked an angry mob of Erdogan supporters to appear and chant that Allah is just swell in the most loving way possible. Even more absurd, Erdogan took it upon himself to declare the Dutch to be Nazi's and fascists. He is clearly watching too much fake news.

    Now, this would all be nothing more than an adorable diplomatic spat if it did not come within a week of Dutch elections, which features an unexpectedly close race between the "politically correct" incumbent, and Eurosceptic Populist Geert Wilders. Wilders, who has been banned from various neighboring countries at times, and has been tried for hate speech for daring to point out that importing people who don't have the same generally laissez-faire approach to religion as you will only lead to trouble. Having menacing crowds of angry men declaring the swellness of God at this point in an election could actually have an impact, giving Wilders party the lions share of seats in Parliament, and landing a third populist blow in a year. Of course, that's no guarantee of an ability to govern.

    Still, the very real but oft ignored cultural incompatibilities are going to come to a head sooner or later. The sooner, the more likely Europe will survive.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Commodore View Post
    There is an interesting conflict brewing between the Netherlands and Turkey this weekend....

    It began with the Turks, who where trying to hold a rally in support of Erdogans latest power grabbing Constitutional amendments. Erdogan is becoming ever more erratic, and frankly problematic for the West ever since the failed coup last year. The Turkish Foreign Minster wanted to fly to Rotterdam for the rally, which Dutch frowned upon, banning him from landing. They then snuck another minister in by car, until the Dutch caught wind of it, and forced her out of the country. This of course sparked an angry mob of Erdogan supporters to appear and chant that Allah is just swell in the most loving way possible. Even more absurd, Erdogan took it upon himself to declare the Dutch to be Nazi's and fascists. He is clearly watching too much fake news.

    Now, this would all be nothing more than an adorable diplomatic spat if it did not come within a week of Dutch elections, which features an unexpectedly close race between the "politically correct" incumbent, and Eurosceptic Populist Geert Wilders. Wilders, who has been banned from various neighboring countries at times, and has been tried for hate speech for daring to point out that importing people who don't have the same generally laissez-faire approach to religion as you will only lead to trouble. Having menacing crowds of angry men declaring the swellness of God at this point in an election could actually have an impact, giving Wilders party the lions share of seats in Parliament, and landing a third populist blow in a year. Of course, that's no guarantee of an ability to govern.

    Still, the very real but oft ignored cultural incompatibilities are going to come to a head sooner or later. The sooner, the more likely Europe will survive.

    Well, that is a calculated response to a calculated escalation. It is POLITICS, nothing more and nothing less. Erdogan hopes to lure nationalist voters among the Turks living in Europe into his camp, that are usually secular and sceptical about him. And the dutch governement ( most likely correctly) anticipated that letting the ministers speak, in spite of provocations, would be a gift to Wilders. Therefore they opted for an unusually harsh response between NATO members. Over in Germany there were also a few rallies and adresses by turkish ministers cancelled, like in Hamburg, where the turkish FM had to speak in the turkish consulate, since not a single hall in the city would have him, yet the response was far more measured. It probably helps that the "eurosceptic populists" (AFD) are in freefall ( currently 7/8 %, tendency down) and the only party certain to be NOT part of any governement formed in September. Nazi slurs were shrugged off ( "Who has to compare modern Germany to Nazi Germany to advance his argument, has lost it."(Merkel), and FM Gabriel took the Berlin tourism fair to lay into his turkish colleague in public and to remind of certain economic dependencies that Turkey has on Germany and Europe. And indicated that Germany wouldnt do Erdogan the favour to play his game of escalation and counter-escalation, but pull the screws were it hurts. Tourism beeing such a field ( an official travel warning would wipe out vast parts of Turkeys tourism industry), investment and exports another. It is also hardly a coincidence that the EU has scrapped numerous pots of financial assistance for Turkey in the meantime. The way to successfully deal with authoritarians is to let their attacks bounce off while exposing their own vulnerability and weakness, if necessary time and time again. Expect also Merkel to deal with Trump along these lines.

    To get back to the Netherlands and Wilders. Yes, it is understood that he is a darling of the Trump administration ( according to some sources he also has financial ties to some of Trumps circles). But the reporting in plenty of US media also demonstrates their poor grasp of european systems of governement and election. The dutch election isnt a "winner takes it all" contest with a clear outcome, there are 28 different parties on the ballot and it is completely clear that only a coalition of several parties will be able to reach a majority (3-5 approximately). Wilders may get every single protest vote in the country, cast for whatever reason and he would still be toxic for pretty much every potential partner (26 have ruled out cooperation with him, the one that hasnt is a fringe party for pensioneers). Currently he stands at around 13, 5 %. Even if he gets 20 % (unlikely), he would still be far from any position commanding power. Assuming that he would even be interested, since his lack of an even remotely coherent program or an even remotely coherent political platform ( he is essentially a one-man party issuing orders to his followers) much rather points to a professional "anti"-guy. It is understood that anglophone media are making plenty of efforts to frame the dutch election in the Trump/Brexit way, Yet it isnt. There is a debate about EU reform, also about division between national and european powers, yet leaving is NOT an option to VAST majorities of the dutch electorate. Not even to many potential Wilders voters. Documentably. Regardless how much Brexiters/Trumpists are drumming that message. No problem, polls can be linked. And Islam and immigration ? Is a topic as well, but far from beeing as dominant or as toxic as it is sometimes claimed. The mayor of Rotterdam, who has just banned the two turkish ministers is a Muslim ( born in Morocco) To give just one example. Far more important for Wilders support base is something else : The years of austerity in the Netherlands following 2008 and the subsequent enlargement of the "working poor" problem in the country. Outside the nationalist corner Wilders essentially targets these voters, usually disgruntled working class that he promises higher pensions, salaries and all that. Yet he should be seen as someone making a living out of sucking up protest votes, not so much as someone with an actual grasp of how to set policy. For that he has demonstrated neither the vision nor the ability nor even the will. Currently it looks like Prime Minister Rutte stays on, probably with a different coalition that may include the Greens. "Lions share" of the votes for Wilders and "dramatic overturn of the established order" ? Probably in the twisted world of alternative facts


    http://www.politico.eu/article/three...opulism-rutte/
    Last edited by Voland; 03-13-2017, 04:35 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Voland View Post
      Well, that is a calculated response to a calculated escalation. It is POLITICS, nothing more and nothing less. Erdogan hopes to lure nationalist voters among the Turks living in Europe into his camp, that are usually secular and sceptical about him. And the dutch governement ( most likely correctly) anticipated that letting the ministers speak, in spite of provocations, would be a gift to Wilders. Therefore they opted for an unusually harsh response between NATO members. Over in Germany there were also a few rallies and adresses by turkish ministers cancelled, like in Hamburg, where the turkish FM had to speak in the turkish consulate, since not a single hall in the city would have him, yet the response was far more measured. It probably helps that the "eurosceptic populists" (AFD) are in freefall ( currently 7/8 %, tendency down) and the only party certain to be NOT part of any governement formed in September....
      Are these the same pollsters that where certain that Brexit would fail, and Hillary would win? Or that said a few months ago that Le Pen couldn't even get close?

      The political elites need to realize that the "peasants" can clearly see right through their jesters in the media and their "the peasant are revolting" attitude, and they don't have be in lockstep with Farrell or Trump or Le Pen or Wilder to be completely fed up with their would be Lords and Masters.

      ?


      • #4
        Originally posted by Commodore View Post

        Are these the same pollsters that where certain that Brexit would fail, and Hillary would win? Or that said a few months ago that Le Pen couldn't even get close?

        The political elites need to realize that the "peasants" can clearly see right through their jesters in the media and their "the peasant are revolting" attitude, and they don't have be in lockstep with Farrell or Trump or Le Pen or Wilder to be completely fed up with their would be Lords and Masters.


        Wether you like that or not and once again, we are talking about different countries with different systems, in different situations, and yes, different pollsters using different methods. And whoever claims that Brexit and Trump would be an attractive example for observers on the european continent should have his head examined or at least go out more. And yes, that is also the far-rights problem.
        Wilders ? Is seen by polls from both sides of the spectre under 15 %. That is not exactly a magnificient revolt of the "peasants" by any stretch of the imagination. And even if he manages to add a few percent till the actual polls he wont govern. The last time he was part of a coalition he ran for the hills as soon as unpopular decisions were on the table. Wilders either needs partners that lift him above 50 % or to add 38 % or so in a day or so. Not going to happen.

        Le Pen ? Has held steady in the polls, but not more than that. Pretty much all predictions have been saying for months that she is likely to enter the second round of the elections and to loose there against pretty much anyone standing against her. Most likely against Emmanuel Macron, former minister of economics. Also in France noone gets elected "the winner takes it all"-way, regardless how many US/UK commentators are ignoring that. The winner has to take more than 50 % literally. For that purpose the winners of the first round will build coalitions for the second. And Le Pen has no partners. That was also visible during Frances recent regional elections, where the FN failed to win a single region, even where Marine herself was running. Frances democratic forces campaign against each other, but against the FN they ally. There is no reason to suggest otherwise this time :

        http://www.politico.eu/article/macro...st-round-poll/

        And Germany ? The AFD lacks charismatic leadership (actually several competitors are more busy with infighting than with campaigning), has blinked far-right a few times too many for more civil voters ( demolition of the Holocaust memorial in Berlin ?), where it has won seats in state parliaments they have been a reliable source of scandals yet not of transforming promises into politics, and anti-Merkel voters have an alternative that could actually make it into the chancellery : Merkels social democratic challenger Martin Schulz. Since not even the most wildly optimistic scenarios would have the far right close up to the main center-right/center left parties in any way. The chancellor is elected by the ( 50 % +) majority of parliament and that has always been a coalition ( the current governement is made up of the Christian Democrats, the Social Democrats, and the bavarian separatists). The problem for the AFD is that extremists dont do coalition and compromise that getting power in the german system requires, left of center is the enemy anyway and right of center--is Merkel. And in the absence of power options tactical voters appear to think twice. Schulz is the guy with the social agenda minus the nationalist posturing, he has unlike the far-right a real chance to unseat Merkel and thus he is an option for disgruntled working class voters ("peasants"). The next chancellor will be either Merkel again or Schulz and probably both in a coalition. The far right is lucky if they get into parliament at all and a share in power out of the question ( for lack of partners). Even the ex-GDR communists would be more likely ( though not very much, only if a left leaning coalition under Schulz would rely on their votes). One also shouldnt forget that the reservoir of frustrated voters aiming to punish the "establishment" through the ballot box is far more limited in Germany ( Its the economy.....). No, german voters are actually not in the mood for radical changes but keep claiming it, if it makes you happy.


        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Schulz


        Seen from here, it looks much rather like nationalist populism is about to reach its limits, at least in the three countries in question. Since yes, voters are starting to see through, most of all that these people mostly thrive on stirring up sentiment and emotion, yet intelligent solutions to real problems---they dont offer. The success of politicians like Macron and Schulz pointing in that direction.





        Last edited by Voland; 03-14-2017, 03:32 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Voland View Post
          Wether you like that or not and once again, we are talking about different countries with different systems, in different situations, and yes, different pollsters using different methods. And whoever claims that Brexit and Trump would be an attractive example for observers on the european continent should have his head examined or at least go out more. And yes, that is also the far-rights problem....
          Different countries, different systems, different situations, different methods, same result, a self serving underestimation of the will of the people that tends to bubble up in "alarming" and "disturbing" ways to those with a vested interest in the status quo. If their interests where in line with the voters, there would be no need to "bubble up", "alarmingly", "distrubingly", or otherwise.
          Originally posted by Voland View Post
          ....Seen from here, it looks much rather like nationalist populism is about to reach its limits, at least in the three countries in question. Since yes, voters are starting to see through, most of all that these people mostly thrive on stirring up sentiment and emotion, yet intelligent solutions to real problems---they dont offer. The success of politicians like Macron and Schulz pointing in that direction.
          Have the issues causing nationalist populism been addressed? Or are those undeserved by the status quo just being called nastier names?

          ?


          • #6
            Originally posted by Commodore View Post
            Have the issues causing nationalist populism been addressed? Or are those undeserved by the status quo just being called nastier names?
            Bitter clingers... Deplorables... and now... sewer rats...

            Remember Hillary's 'Deplorables'? Alberta's Deputy Premier Calls Albertans 'Sewer Rats'

            On May 24, 2015, everything changed for Alberta, the Canadian province, which is comparable to Texas in terms of industry and personality. Alberta had been governed since 1991 by the Progressive Conservatives, a party that is ideologically similar to John Kasich/Mitt Romney-type Republicans; Alberta was considered to be the right wing province of Canada.

            But on that day in April, 2015, Rachel Notley of the New Democratic Party (NDP), a party ideologically similar to Bernie Sanders, was elected and the political climate shifted radically.

            With her election, Notley implemented a painfully high carbon tax, a snooty disdain for the average Albertan worker and a condescending deputy premier (vice-governor), Sarah Hoffman.

            This Monday, March 13, speaking during parliament, Hoffman was asked by Jason Nixon, a member of Canadas Wild Rose party (a party ideologically similar to typical American Republicans), "Premier, your policies are devastating Alberta families. For a government that has shown such gross incompetence, when is the premier going to ask herself to make better choices?"

            Hoffman responded, We're creating jobs. We're cutting school fees. We're freezing tuition. The members opposite just want to keep jacking things up. We're focused on hard hats. They're spending a lot of time with sewer rats."

            ?


            • #7
              Originally posted by Commodore View Post
              Different countries, different systems, different situations, different methods, same result, a self serving underestimation of the will of the people that tends to bubble up in "alarming" and "disturbing" ways to those with a vested interest in the status quo. If their interests where in line with the voters, there would be no need to "bubble up", "alarmingly", "distrubingly", or otherwise.

              Have the issues causing nationalist populism been addressed? Or are those undeserved by the status quo just being called nastier names?
              This just in. Wilders' populist nationalism failed in Netherlands' recent elections. Blaming ethnic groups seems to deviate from a real solution (usually economic), as Voland already noted. I was hoping for a populist, national-oriented movement that had bean counters behind an agenda for gov't. operations, with a positive agenda for the stable and productive family. FE, a gov't. plan that both expands and contracts their budget, depending on economic stability. A gov't. that is flexible enuf to take on needed social programs if, and only if, the non-profit sector can't pick up the demand (fe, child care for employees and graduate students). The same gov't. constantly complains about poor use of tax revenues, and reforms or cuts programs that fail to achieve objectives. In short, a conservative party that openly admits a service is needed, but it will look to have it replaced/reduced by a non-profit or economic stability, as soon as practical.

              If, and only if, conservatives would use that model instead of the "predator of state funds (and security)" populism, they could truly reduce the number of voters who would choose a leftist candidate. On this issue, a hypothesis for the radical center as follows: A significant number of voters choose a party based more on controlling or minimizing the impact of the party in power, when that party demonstrates an ignorance of effective gov't. In short, there are many voters who despite their own political bias would vote left or right, in order to get rid of a corrupt party in power. This in part explains a significant vote count for Trump, IMO. However, that movement will also fail, due to the very tired "predator of the state" agenda, as well as the budget pumping money into a military-industrial complex that is widely recognized as corrupt -therefore wasteful. Those voters are watching and hoping, but they too will be disappointed.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by radcentr View Post
                This just in. Wilders' populist nationalism failed in Netherlands' recent elections.
                Considering that the only guy who got more votes than him only represents 21% of the voters, I'm not sure if fail is the right term. Those are the perils of the parliamentary systems, everyone and their mother can have a party and "win" a seat. It's such a mess that the Rutte government was the first since 2002 to complete it's term.

                So the actual issues will continue to go unaddressed. Whether the Dutch people are simply that oblivious, gluttons for punishment, or simply brow beaten into the political correctness of their masters, there are still kernels of truth to be found in the discussion...

                Turkey threatens to send Europe '15,000 refugees a month'

                Istanbul (AFP) - Turkey's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu has threatened to "blow the mind" of Europe by sending 15,000 refugees a month to EU territory, in an intensifying dispute with the bloc.

                Ankara and Brussels almost a year ago on March 18 signed a landmark deal that has substantially lessened the flow of migrants from Turkey to Europe.

                But the accord is now hanging in the balance due to the diplomatic crisis over the blocking of Turkish ministers from holding rallies in Europe.

                "If you want, we could open the way for 15,000 refugees that we don't send each month and blow the mind" of Europe, Soylu said in a speech late Thursday, quoted by the Anadolu news agency.

                Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has already indicated that Turkey could rip up the deal and said Turkey was no longer readmitting migrants who crossed into Greece.
                You don't threaten people with something that is good for them.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by radcentr View Post

                  This just in. Wilders' populist nationalism failed in Netherlands' recent elections. Blaming ethnic groups seems to deviate from a real solution (usually economic), as Voland already noted. I was hoping for a populist, national-oriented movement that had bean counters behind an agenda for gov't. operations, with a positive agenda for the stable and productive family. FE, a gov't. plan that both expands and contracts their budget, depending on economic stability. A gov't. that is flexible enuf to take on needed social programs if, and only if, the non-profit sector can't pick up the demand (fe, child care for employees and graduate students). The same gov't. constantly complains about poor use of tax revenues, and reforms or cuts programs that fail to achieve objectives. In short, a conservative party that openly admits a service is needed, but it will look to have it replaced/reduced by a non-profit or economic stability, as soon as practical.

                  If, and only if, conservatives would use that model instead of the "predator of state funds (and security)" populism, they could truly reduce the number of voters who would choose a leftist candidate. On this issue, a hypothesis for the radical center as follows: A significant number of voters choose a party based more on controlling or minimizing the impact of the party in power, when that party demonstrates an ignorance of effective gov't. In short, there are many voters who despite their own political bias would vote left or right, in order to get rid of a corrupt party in power. This in part explains a significant vote count for Trump, IMO. However, that movement will also fail, due to the very tired "predator of the state" agenda, as well as the budget pumping money into a military-industrial complex that is widely recognized as corrupt -therefore wasteful. Those voters are watching and hoping, but they too will be disappointed.

                  Well, Wilders landed at 13 %. There is really not much more to say about a guy who called a revolution and claimed to speak for a majority : he doesnt. He has his fanbase and he has without doubt sucked up a bunch of disgruntled labour voters, but that is about it.

                  The result is much less surprising though if you look beyond the narrative pushed by parts of the US/UK press that this election was allegedly all about Islam/immigration and the European Union and to the domestic policy dimension of it all (where Wilders is pretty weak). He has never presented even remotely convincing answers to complicated issues like pension and healthcare sustainability, tax fairness, controversial gas fracking plans in the northern Netherlands or the working poor problem, except promising everyone more money and blaming the usual sinister Forces (Elites, Islam, Europe etc.). Which is enough to act as a lightning rod for frustrated voters of various denominations, yet not to formulate a serious political alternative.
                  Wilders actually has a point in attacking Mark Rutte over broken promises and austerity cuts ( that is largely why Rutte has lost votes, while still winning), yet most voters havent forgotten that the two men were in a coalition together back then. And while Wilders ran for the hills as soon as he had to discuss potentially unpopular measures, Rutte took responsibility and the heat, which is why he can now claim credit for the positive development of the economy under his stewardship and Wilders attacks sound a bit hollow for many Dutch (even for many not in Ruttes camp). On the EU the Netherlands are largely in the same camp as Germany, overwhelmingly pro, while pushing reforms on a number of issues and Wilders neverever had a chance to push through a "Nexit" (regardless what the pro-Brexit UK press claims), not even among righties. On international policy Rutte largely gets good grades, and showing turkish president Erdogan the middle finger ( denying the turkish FMs plane landing rights while evicting another minister across the border to Germany) could have pushed him slightly on the finish line. Finally, yes, immigration IS an issue, yet not the only one and far less toxic than in the US/UK. And it is also picked up by the established parties ( PM Rutte published an open letter to immigrants under the headline "Behave normal or go away" during the campaign).
                  Lessons to take home :

                  a) The Netherlands are NOT the "next dominoe to fall" and since parts of the anglophone press styled these elections as a referendum on the EU : 87 % of the cast votes went to pro-European parties.

                  b) Coalition building will be messy and take a while. Odds are that Rutte will try to get in bed with the Christian Democrats and the liberal D66 plus courting one of the left parties, either the Greens or Labour.

                  c) The Netherlands are not an exception in traditional mainstream parties (both left and right) loosing their binding power and political systems becoming more fragmented and chaotic. Which must not be a bad thing from a democratic point of view, yet it would appear that the era of stable long-term governements and majorities is coming to an end.

                  d) Wilders will be back to the role that he had in dutch politics for the last 20 years or so : Fuming from the sidelines.

                  e) Wether the dutch vote already points the direction for France next month is currently speculative, yet it is recognizeable that several polls see the liberal , pro-EU and centrist Emmanuel Macron either even or ahead of Le Pen already in the first round.

                  f) There is one possible explanation for the pro Trump/ pro Brexit press beeing so far besides reality in their predictions : US/UK voters often dont get how proportional systems of election/representation work as opposed to first past the post/winner takes it all. Beeing largest or second-largest party doesnt mean anything if you dont have the partners to lift you above the necessary threshhold.

                  http://www.politico.eu/article/how-t...geert-wilders/

                  Last edited by Voland; 03-21-2017, 01:13 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Commodore View Post

                    Considering that the only guy who got more votes than him only represents 21% of the voters, I'm not sure if fail is the right term. Those are the perils of the parliamentary systems, everyone and their mother can have a party and "win" a seat. It's such a mess that the Rutte government was the first since 2002 to complete it's term.

                    So the actual issues will continue to go unaddressed. Whether the Dutch people are simply that oblivious, gluttons for punishment, or simply brow beaten into the political correctness of their masters, there are still kernels of truth to be found in the discussion...

                    Turkey threatens to send Europe '15,000 refugees a month'



                    You don't threaten people with something that is good for them.

                    Yes, and the problem with playing such cards is that one you played them, you burnt them, even if you dont get the anticipated results. Erdogan has made that threat countless times since late 2015, and has the EU extradited the Glen guys ? Cut links with the Curds ? Granted Turks visa-free travel ? Allowed turkish ministers free campaigning ? No ? Well, it works with nationalist voters, but that is about it. Without EU tourism (biggest groups of tourists : Germans), the EU market and EU investions Turkey would be in very deep shit, which Erdogan obviously knows. You can add on top the EU paying for Turkey building and running infrastructure for the refugees while taking the most vulnerable ones, money that would be obviously lost, while it is unclear wether any clear number could be "sent". These people are often living and working in Turkey by now while the EU has stocked up on borderguards, administration and camps, has set up lists of "safe" countries whose citizens will be denied asylum and increased deportations. Even Turkey beeing serious ( highly in doubt) would not lead to a situation like in 2015. And the consequences would be arguably graver on Turkeys part. Good luck to them with cozying up to Trump/Putin. Erdogan is not interested in a complete break with Europe, since that would lead to an uproar in his own Country. Much more useful to pull and loosen the escalation button as he sees fit.
                    Last edited by Voland; 03-21-2017, 02:02 PM.

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