What a man in search of a trade deal - any trade deal - will do. Here is Boris Johnson, our inexplicable Foreign Secretary, pledging to support Turkish entry into the European Union. This in the wake of the repression following the coup, with tens of thousands imprisoned on political charges. Elif Shafak describes what it is like,
Intimidation and paranoia permeate Turkish society. We are afraid to write. We are afraid to talk. Never before have we been so scared of words and their repercussions. If the government does not control this purge, it will not only cause injustices that will take decades to heal, but also weaken the credibility of legitimate efforts against putschists.However, Mr Johnson has other reasons, he is apparently the “proud possessor of a beautiful, very well-functioning Turkish washing machine.” Cynthia Kroet comments,
Johnson’s relationship with Ankara has not always been so friendly. In May, prior to his appointment to the role of foreign secretary, Johnson won a poetry prize for a rude limerick about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan having sex with a goat.But then hang on a minute. Is this the same Johnson who fought a campaign to leave the EU, partly based on the dangers of Turkish entry into the EU? The same campaign that denied that we had a veto over Turkish entry (fact check - we do)? It prompted this response in a Facebook post by Guy Verhofstadt, the flamboyant former Prime Minister of Belgium, leader of the liberal group in the European Parliament and frequent scourge of Nigel Farage.
So Boris Johnson wants to help Turkey join the EU, after he just campaigned for the UK to leave the EU on the basis that Turkey would be joining the EU in the near future. The UK defence Minister today says the UK Government will block EU efforts to enhance its security capabilities, even though the UK is leaving the EU, yet they say they want an enhanced security relationship with the EU after Brexit. Liam Fox, the UK trade minister, has indicated the UK will leave the EU's customs union, because he thinks other markets are more important, yet his Prime Minister tells us that the EU27 "will sign" an ambitious trade deal with the UK. Politics never fails to surprise me!This act of self harm is going well, isn't it?