Every day Turkey seems to be moving further away from the West. The crackdown on freedom of the press, culminating in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government closing down dozens of newspapers and radio and television broadcasters, is only the most recent blow to democracy in Turkey.
Following the failed coup d’état, Mr. Erdogan dismissed, locked up or harassed more than 60,000 soldiers, journalists, judges, lawyers, teachers and employees of state companies such as Turkish Airlines. There can hardly have been a clearer way to block the bridge over the Bosphorus and the connection it provides to Europe and its values.
And yet every day Turkey seems to become a little more important for the West, and Europe in particular. The series of attacks in recent weeks – from Nice to Würzburg and Ansbach to Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray – were more painful reminders of the danger posed by Islamist terrorism.
As there is currently no alternative to the refugee agreement negotiated by Angela Merkel with Ankara to control the flow of refugees, Turkey remains of key importance in the migration crisis. Because of its geographical location, Turkey is a buffer zone to the crisis-hit regions of the Middle East and – despite saber-rattling by Mr. Erdogan on his eastern borders – a regional force for order.