Though it is questionable how much the European Union truly believes in the principle of liberal democracy when it expects its applicants to adhere to that principle, it seems President Erdogan has no interest in conforming to the EU's expectations, as yesterday's referendum has proved.

Turkey has been on the EU's waiting list for some time now. But during Mr. Erdogan's tenure as prime minister in 2003-14, he successfully clamped down on freedom of speech, the freedom of the press and the rights of its LGBT and Kurdish citizens. Reporters without Borders ranked Turkey 100 on the Press Freedom Index during his first term as prime minister.

EU officials at the time refused to allow Turkey to join the superbloc due to Mr. Erdogan's failure to respect the free press.

Add to these strains Turkey's persistent illegal occupation of northern Cyprus and Mr. Erdogan successfully scuppered his country's application before reaching the office of president. After a further clampdown of the free press during last year's coup and winning yesterday's referendum that will enable President Erdogan to further solidify his power base, he might as well withdraw Turkey's EU membership application immediately.

It remains questionable why the EU want Turkey to join them. With a population that dwarfs that of their most influential member, Germany, Turkish MEPs would flood the European Parliament, overtaking the current makeup of German MEPs.

The EU's existence may only be limited to a number of years, but it seems Mr. Erdogan has unintentionally let it live to fight another day. Mrs. Merkel no longer has to fear Turkey overtaking Germany's role in shaping the European agenda. To give credit where it's due, perhaps Stronger In did get something right last year; Turkey will definitely not be allowed to join the EU until 3000 and beyond. But it's doubtful the superbloc will be alive by then anyway.