Erdogan, on Central Europe’s support for Israel: “I curse Austria!”

Correspondent in Berlin

Updated:05/18/2021 10:47h

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In a context of growing manifestations of violence against Israel in Central Europe, the President of Turkey has launched the protesters against the Government of Austria, for having raised the Israeli flag in various headquarters of state institutions as a show of support. “What the Austrian state probably wants is that Muslims pay the price for them committing genocide against Jews,” he said. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “I curse the Austrian State!”

Both the Federal Chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz, as the foreign minister Alexander Schallenberg, both belonging to the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), have condemned the attacks on Israel from Gaza. As a show of solidarity with Israel, the Israeli flag has been raised at the Federal Chancellery and at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vienna, a gesture justified by Schallenberg as a “Austria’s consistent stance towards terrorism” and in the fact that “both the United States and the EU classify Hamas as a terrorist group.” The Government of Austria made this decision after several hundred protesters took to the streets of Vienna shouting slogans against Israel and the Jewish people, in which the majority of the participants were part of the population of Turkish origin. Interior Minister Karl Nehammer has harshly criticized Turkey’s “inglorious” role in the Middle East conflict. In his opinion, this role “certainly does not contribute to de-escalation, but to escalation” and has accused Erdogan of “adding fuel to the fire”, after the Turkish president described Israel last week as a “terrorist state” .

Nehammer further noted that last summer there were “clear indications that Turkey had influenced the riots in Vienna-Favoriten.” At that time, supporters of the ultra-nationalist Turkish ‘Gray Wolves’ attacked a Kurdish demonstration protesting violence against women and caused riots that lasted for days. “Turkey is also now exerting influence on the demonstrations directed against Israel,” added the minister, who mentioned “the many Turkish flags that fly in the demonstrations against the Jews.”

Austrian media have published a letter from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs addressed to the Minister of the Interior Nehammer stating that “we reject and condemn the baseless statements made by the Austrian Minister of the Interior about our country and our president in relation to protests in Vienna against Israel’s atrocities». “We call on the Austrian authorities to put an end to these anti-Turkish statements, which result from purely domestic political calculations and damage Turkish-Austrian relations,” continued the letter, which denotes a serious tension in relations between the two countries.

Criticism of Biden

The Turkish president has also harshly criticized the US president Joe Biden. “Unfortunately you are making history with your bloody hands,” he said on Monday night, after charging the Austrian government, “we are forced to say that.” Erdogan bases this attack on Biden on a $ 735 million gun sale on which there is no official information and that according to the Turkish president has “bathed the soil of Palestine with horror, pain and blood.”

Germany, also with a significant population of Turkish origin and which has also registered last week various attacks on synagogues and Jewish shopsAs well as demonstrations calling for the “extinction of the Jews”, he has warned that there will be “zero tolerance for any anti-Semitic demonstration.” The German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, has pointed out that “whoever attacks a synagogue like someone who damages Jewish symbols shows that they are not criticizing a State or a policy, but attacking, in an act of hatred, those who profess a religion.” He made these statements after the Israeli ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issachroff, urged the German authorities to guarantee the security of the Jewish community, “increasingly threatened in the streets.” “The conflict in the Middle East has nothing to do with the Jewish community in Germany,” the diplomat has tried to underline.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert has called the rocket fire at Israel by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas “terrorist attacks with only one objective: kill people without distinction (…) And spread fear ». Angela Merkel’s government defends “Israel’s right to self-defense against these attacks.” The Chancellor herself Angela Merkel He telephoned the Israeli prime minister yesterday, Benjamin Netanyahu, to express its “solidarity” with Israel and to call for an end to the fighting “as quickly as possible”, underlining the high number of civilian casualties for both parties. Merkel strongly condemned Hamas rocket fire, while his government insists that “it will proceed decisively against protests on German soil that try to spread hatred and anti-Semitism.” Regarding the bombings last weekend by the Israeli forces against a building that houses international media, Seibert has limited himself to saying that “journalistic work on the ground in a conflict zone is very important, but we also know that Hamas is active in highly populated areas and that it takes the civilian population hostage.

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Women around the world demand that the government of Turkey not withdraw from the Istanbul Convention | Radiocable.com – Internet Radio

As reported by Amnesty International, women from all over the world have come together to protest against the trick president’s decision to withdraw the country from the Istanbul Convention. A historic international treaty on preventing and combating violence against women.

It was last March when President Erdogan announced the country’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention. A decision that comes into force on July 1 and that from different parts of the world demand that the authorities reconsider.

“In the weeks since President Erdogan announced his decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, women have been coming together in Turkey and around the world. Instead of being intimidated, they have taken to the streets, “said Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard.

The organization is concerned that Turkey’s withdrawal “is just the tip of a dangerous populist iceberg.” Noting that “using a backward and distorted framework of ‘family values’, various governments are attempting to roll back the rights of women and LGBTI people across Europe.”

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Erdogan’s little room – Information

Though confusing and belated, Belgian Michel’s apologies seem plausible. That he didn’t want to sound patronizing, he says. That both, after a knowing look, decided to ignore the incident so as not to ruin months of diplomatic effort with a partner as strategic as he was uncomfortable. Europe needs Turkey to stop the arrival of refugees, at a time when the migration agreement for which Brussels paid Ankara 6,000 euros is about to be renewed (or not) in order for it to assume the role of guard police borders. There have been frictions in recent months, with insults to the French president (he needs “mental therapy”, according to Erdogan) and gas exploration in the Mediterranean, in waters claimed by Greece and Cyprus.

What, then, should Von der Leyen’s response have been: shut up and flatten? The habit of swallowing is part of the problem, also in situations of much less substance, aired by the practical sense of women. Come on, don’t pay any attention, silly, what does it matter, smile, clench your ass and teeth, pass the word, let’s end this formal matter as soon as possible and go home, where other chores and a basket of iron await. The President of the Commission has been timely underlining an outrage clearly orchestrated by Turkey – in other meetings in Ankara with top EU representatives, when all the dignitaries were men, there were chairs for everyone at the same level – especially after the Erdogan regime to withdraw from the European convention for the prevention of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence.

Von der Leyen was right to get the colors out of them. By Turkish women. For those who have no voice. For the ladies, like the generation of our mothers, who never sit down, always at the service of others. Can I put more coffee on you?

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Become a Charles Michel

A few weeks ago we saw a sequence that, had it taken place in a play, would have been tragicomic to us, but it happened in reality and it was embarrassing.

Perhaps, those who do not know the work of the Valladolid playwright José Zorrilla when they hear mention of “the sofa scene” do not locate it in the Seville of 1545 but in the Ankara of 2021.

This is the function which we attend perplexed:

Decorated

On stage, a presidential palace room. In the middle, two chairs flanked by flags of Turkey and Europe. At some distance, two sofas.

Argument

The President of Turkey receives two senior representatives of the European Union on an institutional visit: a man and a woman. He sits the man beside him, in a chair of the mandatory counterpart and the woman … leaves her standing, there is no seat for her.

Characters

The host: Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Recep is not very receptive to, for example, equality between people of different genders. In March he withdrew his country from Council of Europe Convention for the Prevention of Violence against Women. It had been signed in 2011 in Istanbul and, ten years later, it was uploaded. The first binding international document that protects women against violence She must have looked like a ful from Istanbul.

The woman without a chair: Ursula Von der Leyen.

She is the president of the European Commission, that is, the president of the government of Europe, elected by the European Parliament. Von der leyen he freaked out when he saw that he had no chair along with the other two leaders. He ended up on the couch, a place occupied by consultants and translators.

The man with the chair: Charles Michel.

He is the President of the European Council. He represents the EU on foreign and security policy issues and is appointed by the heads of state or government of the EU countries. Michel sat down with all his rennet and, while Úrsula was hallucinating in technicolor, he was playing the Belgian.

The scene had a great media coverage, many groups EU parliamentarians openly criticized personal and institutional humiliation, Michel apologized and asked to turn the page.

This same week Von der Leyen referred to the embarrassing incident in the plenary session of the European Parliament. And he attributed such rudeness to machismo: “Would they have done it to someone wearing a suit and tie?”. Rhetorical question: No, a no more resounding than those of Bosé.

The president confessed that she had felt “hurt and alone” as a woman and as a European. Beware of the latter, it is key: “As a European.” Because, as Europeans, we should be very clear that this type of gesture they represent a betrayal of the values ​​that are supposed to give the Union meaning. And heading the list of offended, should have been the president of the Council.

That those responsible for the protocol of the Turkish Executive excluded the chair of a high representative and that Erdogan stayed there so hot, sitting on his pair of erdoganes, taking her rightful place from a woman, no wonder. But that Charles Michell did not get up, to align with an EU representative, it is unheard of.

This lack of reaction leave the european countries at the height of the macho, stale and uneven bitumen that others can afford with their totalitarian regimes, Europe cannot.

Michel excused himself saying that he did not get up for not amplifying the incident and causing a diplomatic fire. The same old story, inaction, the perfect element for those who intend to return us to another century to do so without disheveled. By the way, what do we Europeans owe Turkey to put up with these embarrassing antics … hair?

Watch out for the symbolism of the scene. Ultra-thinking – see what the extreme right does – always drives out those who find it uncomfortable, dangerous, inferior or different. Let’s keep it in the retina, that photo explains very well where we are and worst, where we are going.

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What is Kanal Istanbul, Erdogan’s project in Turkey – Europe – International

Turkey recently announced the arrest of 10 retired admirals after they openly criticized the government’s project of Recep Tayyip Erdogan to build a maritime channel parallel to the Bosphorus for naval traffic.

(Read here: Life sentence for coup for 38 high-ranking Turkish Army commanders)

The arrest puts the spotlight on a construction that could destabilize very delicate political and military balances in the eastern Mediterranean.

The new channel, known for now as ‘Channel Istanbul’ It would allow Turkey a greater control of naval traffic because it would not be subject to the Montreux Convention, which regulates civil and military traffic in the Bosphorus since 1936, a key route in world political balances because it allows the exit to the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and to the Suez Canal to Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Georgia and, above all, to the Russian fleet.

The main controversy generated by the project is whether this Montreux Convention would apply to it.

The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The turkish government he could say that the new channel would not be applied or Erdogan could also withdraw Turkey from the convention, ending it.

If it did, the traffic through the Turkish Straits would become dependent on the goodwill of Turkey.

The original idea of ​​the Montreux Convention was to demilitarize the Black Sea by imposing strict rules of navigation and trade to cross the Straits of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles.

The letter, signed by 104 retired admirals, assures that this Convention is “the best protection of Turkish interests,” implying that Erdogan is wrong. The project, which was officially approved in March, consists of opening a 45-kilometer-long canal comparable to those in Suez or Panama.

(It may interest you: Biden would recognize the Armenian genocide, a blow to Erdogan)

The Turkish president accused them of “fomenting a military coup”.

Erdogan’s statement after the announcement of the arrest of 10 of the signers assures: “In a country whose past is full of military coups, another attempt by a group of retired admirals will never be accepted.O”.

The government ensures that it will preserve the natural environment, as well as its fresh water resources and its flora and fauna.

The Prosecutor’s Office is investigating these retired admirals for “agreement to commit a crime against the security of the State and the constitutional order.” Between 1960 and 1980 there were three successful military coups and in 2016 one failed.

Among the detainees are characters such as Cem Gurdeniz, father of the controversial Turkish naval doctrine, which ensures that Turkey has rights to waters surrounding Greek islands.

Also Alaettin Sevim, who was already arrested in 2011 and accused of attempted military coup. The 10 detainees are those indicated by the Government as the promoters of the letter signed by 104.

Istanbul

The maritime canal project would parallel the Bosphorus Strait.

Project details

The ‘Kanal Istanbul’ project has a budget of 75 billion Turkish liras (8,269 million euros compared to this past Tuesday).

It would involve the construction, on its shores, of a city of half a million inhabitants. It would include a zoo and archaeological parks.

(You are interested: Businessman wanted to fake his kidnapping and ended up in the hands of terrorists)

The official explanation says that it is about alleviating the traffic of the Bosphorus and eliminating pollution and that about 160 ships will pass through the new canal a day. It will have six bridges, of which four will be for highways.

Turkey says that MWH Global (company that participated in the renovation of the Panama Canal) and companies of China, Rusia and Italy they already showed interest in participating in the contest.

The Turkish government originally wanted the project to be completed in 2023 to coincide with the centenary of the founding of modern Turkey, heir to the Ottoman Empire. It seems impossible that it can be built in two years.

The mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, He is also critical of the project because of its environmental impact, because he believes that it could isolate the city and because it would limit its fresh water reserves.

Recep Erdogan

The new canal, known for now as ‘Kanal Istanbul’ would allow Turkey greater control of naval traffic.

The government ensures that it will preserve the natural environment, as well as its fresh water resources and its flora and fauna.

The first drawings to open an artificial canal next to Istanbul were proposed in the 16th century to Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. In 1591 Sultan Murad III ordered the works to begin but they never started. In 1654 Sultan Mehmet IV tried it, with the same result. There were new attempts in 1760 and 1813.

The most utopian idea arose in the 20s of the last century in the head of the German architect Herman Sörgel, who devised a plan to close the Mediterranean by building gigantic dams in Gibraltar and the Dardanelles.

(In other news: Turkey: a country of stories, aromas and flavors)

His plan involved lowering the level of the Mediterranean by about 100 meters between Gibraltar and Sicily and by 200 meters from Sicily to the coasts of the Middle East.

The water, after a desalination process, would be used to irrigate the Sahara and create three million square kilometers of fertile land and an inland sea on the African continent.

The dams would have hydraulic plants of a size never seen before. Only the one in Gibraltar would produce more electricity than 20 current nuclear reactors. Sörgel believed that his project would help, thanks to international collaboration, to consolidate world peace just after the First World War.

IDAFE MARTÍN PÉREZ
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Erdogan’s moves offer little reward | Opinion

Turkey has resisted the temptation to cut borrowing costs, for now. The new head of the central bank, Sahap Kavcioglu, on Thursday kept the main rate at 19%, while hinting at a possible relaxation.

Tayyip Erdogan’s apparent goal of easing monetary policy falters. In March, he abruptly replaced the governor, Naci Agbal, who had raised rates that month by 200 basis points, the third dismissal from the post in two years. Kavcioglu seemed more inclined to please him, having argued that high rates can cause, rather than slow down, inflation.

So far, you have avoided any rough action. But you are setting the stage for relaxation. He spoke of keeping rates above inflation. Since the annual exceeded 16% in March, you can raise them up to 300 points. Meanwhile, the promise of March to maintain a tight monetary policy “for an extended period” disappeared.

But Turkey is worse than before. The lira has lost more than a tenth of its value against the dollar since the appointment. And, having spent more than $ 100 billion in 2020 to shore it up, the bank only has $ 10 billion in net foreign exchange reserves, the lowest level since 2003, giving it little ability to fight a sell-off. Also, the Turks are avoiding it in warehouses.

That means inflation can continue to rise. The growing current account deficit, of 2.6 billion dollars in February, is another cause for concern, especially since the restrictions mean that tourism will suffer again this year, which will hurt exports. Kavcioglu is unlikely to be able to slash rates without risking rising inflation, or even a currency crisis.

Your biggest problem is a lack of credibility. Société Générale estimates that another $ 5.9 billion of capital will leave Turkish assets in the short term. The central bank’s twists and turns make a rate cut even more risky.

The authors are columnists for Reuters Breakingviews. Opinions are yours. The translation, of Carlos Gomez Down, it is the responsibility of Five days

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Nicaragua sends condolences on the death of Yildirim Akbulut, Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey

Government of Reconciliation and National Unity
United Nicaragua Triumphs

Managua, April 16, 2021

Your excellence
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
President of the
Republic of Turkey
Ankara

Dear Brother President:

In the name of God, Merciful and Compassionate.

In these moments of national mourning, let us convey our deepest condolences for the transition to another plane of life of Brother Yildirim Akbulut, former Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey.
Brother President:

From our Nicaragua, Always Blessed and Always Free, we reiterate our Fraternal Solidarity, to You, your People, your Government, and especially to the Family of Brother Yildirim Akbulut, who will always be remembered for the important work he performed in the service of the Noble People of Turkey.

Receive our fraternal embrace and the affection of all Nicaraguans for the Brother People of Turkey, we pray for Peace, Progress and Well-being for the future.

“We belong to Allah and to Him we will return.”

(FIRMS)

Daniel Ortega Saavedra Rosario Murillo

Turkey

ingles

ingles

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‘Kanal Istanbul’, Erdogan’s megalomaniac project that can alter the Mediterranean balance


  • The original idea of ​​the Montreux Convention was to demilitarize the Black Sea

The new channel, known for now as ‘Kanal Istanbul’ would allow Turkey greater control of naval traffic because it would not be subject to the Montreux Convention, the one that regulates civil and military traffic on the Bosphorus since 1936, a key route in world political balances because it allows the exit to the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and the Suez Canal to Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Georgia and, above all, the Russian fleet.

Legislative reforms in recent years allow Erdogan to withdraw Turkey from international conventions and treaties without the go-ahead from Parliament. And there is a precedent: in March Turkey left, by decision of its president, the international convention that fights to prevent and combat violence against women.

The original idea of ​​the Montreux Convention was to demilitarize the Black Sea imposing strict rules of navigation and commerce to cross the Straits of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. The letter, signed by 104 retired admirals, assures that this Convention is “the best protection of Turkish interests,” implying that Erdogan is wrong. The project, which was officially approved in March, consists to open a 45-kilometer-long canal comparable to those in Suez or Panama.

The Turkish president accused them dand “encourage a military coup.” Erdogan’s statement after the announcement of the arrest of 10 of the signers assures: “In a country whose past is full of military coups, another attempt by a group of retired admirals will never be accepted.” The Prosecutor’s Office is investigating these retired admirals for “agreement to commit a crime against the security of the State and the constitutional order.” Between 1960 and 1980 there were three successful military coups and in 2016 one failed.

Among the detainees are characters such as Cem Gurdeniz, father of the controversial Turkish naval doctrine, which ensures that Turkey has rights to waters surrounding Greek islands. Also Alaettin Sevim, who was already arrested in 2011 and accused of attempted military coup. The 10 detainees are those indicated by the Government as the promoters of the letter signed by 104.

A mega construction

The project ‘Kanal Istanbul’ has a budget of 75 billion Turkish liras (8,269 million euros compared to this past Tuesday). It would involve the construction, on its shores, of a city of half a million inhabitants. It would include a zoo and archaeological parks.
The official explanation says that it is about alleviating the traffic of the Bosphorus and eliminating pollution and that about 160 ships will pass through the new canal a day. It will have six bridges, of which four will be for highways. Turkey says that MWH Global (company that participated in the renovation of the Panama Canal) and Companies from China, Russia and Italy have already shown interest in participating in the contest.

The Turkish government originally wanted the project to be completed in 2023 to coincide with the centenary of the founding of modern Turkey, heir to the Ottoman Empire. It seems impossible that it can be built in two years.

The mayor of Istanbul, EImamoglu krem, is also critical of the project for its environmental impact, because it considers that it could isolate the city and because it would limit its fresh water reserves. The Government ensures that it will preserve the natural environment, as well as its fresh water resources and its flora and fauna.

The first drawings to open an artificial canal next to Istanbul were proposed in the 16th century to Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. In 1591 Sultan Murad III ordered the works to begin but they never started. In 1654 Sultan Mehmet IV tried it, with the same result. There were new attempts in 1760 and 1813.

The most utopian idea arose in the 20s of the last century in the head of the German architect Herman Sörgel, who devised a plan to close off the Mediterranean by building gigantic dams in Gibraltar and the Dardanelles. His plan involved lowering the level of the Mediterranean by about 100 meters between Gibraltar and Sicily and by 200 meters from Sicily to the coasts of the Middle East.

The water, after a desalination process, would be used to irrigate the Sahara and create three million square kilometers of fertile land and an inland sea on the African continent. The dams would have hydraulic plants of a size never seen before. Only the one in Gibraltar would produce more electricity than 20 current nuclear reactors. Sörgel thought that his project would help, thanks to the international collaboration, to consolidate world peace just after the First World War.

Due, a land of 660,000 square kilometers was drained (roughly equivalent to the territory of mainland France) and joined Europe and Africa. By lowering the sea level, the African coast grew towards the north until it touched Sicily and the Italian island joined southern Italy. Mallorca and Menorca would have been united, like Sardinia and Corsica. Barcelona and Valencia would be 70 kilometers from the sea. Tangier would be the capital of the bicontinent Atlántropa that would merge Africa and Europe.

The Adriatic was drying up and it was planned to build a canal that would reach Venice. The flooding of the Sahara and several mammoth dams in the Congo River basin should create an inland sea in Africa that, in Sörgel’s plans, would temper the climate of the African continent. At that time practically all of Africa was a colony of the European powers and in Sörgel’s plans the Africans had no opinion on the project. His idea was that Africa serve Europe to have the necessary resources to face Asia and America in the future.

Between five and six million years ago the Mediterranean was dry land. At the end of the last ice age it was flooded by the Atlantic. Sörgel was unaware that drying out the Mediterranean would have caused its salinization, an effect that can be seen in the Dead Sea and that would have prevented its use for agricultural purposes.

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Turkey suspends contracts with Italian companies after Draghi’s declaration

Correspondent in Rome

Updated:11/04/2021 13: 18h

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Tension grows between Italy and Turkey, following the Ankara government’s decision to suspend contracts with Italian companies, in retaliation for the words of Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who defined Turkish President Erdogan as a “dictator.” For the moment, the sale of helicopters from Leonardo, the important Italian industrial group specialized in the aerospace sector, controlled by the State, has been suspended. Thus the diplomatic crisis worsens started last Thursday. That day Draghi was asked his opinion on the humiliation suffered by the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on his visit to Ankara with the President of the European Council, the Belgian Charles Michel.

Erdogan left von der Leyen without a chair, who had to sit on a sofa, without Michel’s protest. On President Erdogan’s snub, the Italian Prime Minister gave a tough political response to defend von der Leyen: “I absolutely do not agree with Erdogan’s behavior towards the President of the European Commission von der Leyen. I think it was not appropriate. I was very sorry for the humiliation von der Leyen had to endure. The consideration that must be made with these, let’s call them for what they are, dictators with whom, however, you have a need to collaborate, or rather cooperate, is that one has to be frank when expressing the difference of points of view, behaviors , visions, but willing to cooperate for the interests of the country itself. It is necessary to find a correct balance ». Draghi thus distinguished Europe from democracies and authoritarian regimes with which it is necessary “not to collaborate but to cooperate”.

Immediately, the Italian ambassador in Ankara, Massimo Gaiani, was summoned by the Turkish government to ask for explanations and an apology. Since then, statements by ministers and political leaders have not ceased, calling Draghi’s statements “impertinent, inappropriate and unacceptable”. Industry Minister Mustafa Varank commented: “There are no lessons in democracy that Turkey can receive from the designated prime minister (not elected at the polls) of the Italy that invented fascism.” The Ankara government wants the Italian prime minister’s words to be withdrawn with an official apology. In the absence of a response from the Italian Government, Ankara has gone from fiery statements to sending signals to threaten the Italian economy.

Suspended contracts

Italy’s commercial interests with Turkey reach almost 18,000 million euros (before the Covid the figure reached 17,000 million a year). Italy, with almost 1,500 companies in that country, is its second European economic partner, a reflection of the strategic space that the Italians have managed to establish in that territory. One of the most important companies is Ferrero, the largest European manufacturer of sweets, which produces a good part of hazelnuts in Turkey, a business worth hundreds of millions a year. It is in the commercial arena where the Turkish government seems willing to retaliate, so that the Italian economy will pay for Draghi’s words.

The Italian media emphasize that these days the signing of the contract was expected for the purchase of 10 training helicopters Leonardo AW169. An operation that could exceed 150 million euros. But the Turks have made it known that “for now” the operation is suspended. Other companies could face retaliation. In fact, the same warning has been sent to other Italian companies active in Turkey: «Among them – highlights the newspaper La Repubblica – are at least two private companies and Ansaldo Energia, owner of 40 percent of a group that for a year he negotiates with the Turkish banks and authorities the management of the debts for hundreds of millions accumulated by the Gebze central, in the industrial zone of Istanbul ».

The Italian government tries to minimize, while activating diplomatic channels to reduce tension and calm relationships. The official Italian apology in the terms in which Ankara wishes will surely not come. Draghi’s position in relation to Turkey was known prior to his press conference last Friday. At the last European summit on March 25, the Italian prime minister harshly criticized the Turkish rule of law and Turkey’s departure from the Istanbul Convention, signed in 2011, which provides for equality between men and women. In a clear step back from rights, in a country that registers a daily average of three femicides, President Erdogan signed the withdrawal of that Convention on March 20, with the justification that it “damages the values ​​of the traditional family.”

Draghi’s declaration calling Erdogan a “dictator” has been supported by Italian public opinion and the entire parliamentary arch. It has also been appreciated in most of Europe, because Draghi is recognized for having spoken frankly, which is not usual in some corridors of power in Europe. Among other support, Draghi has received that of the leader of the European People’s Party, Manfred Weber: “With Turkey – he commented – it is better to speak clearly and remove the European Union enlargement procedure from the (negotiating) table.”

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García-Margallo, on Von der Leyen’s ‘sofagate’: «It is a diplomatic rudeness of Erdogan»

Erdogan’s Turkey, a partner as necessary as it is uncomfortable and toxic, has been the scene of the second great setback in European diplomacy so far in 2021 after Borrell’s failed visit to Moscow last February. What seemed like an approach to smooth over rough edges, has ended up stained by the ‘sofagate’ by which the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, was left without a chair and relegated to a sofa before the photo of Erdogan himself with the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, noted for his inaction. In the background, the event coincided with the five years of the EU-Turkey migration agreement and the latter’s departure from the Istanbul Convention against sexist violence.

In an interview with Europa Hoy, Popular MEP and former Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo (Madrid, 1944) has analyzed the diplomatic implications of the ‘sofagate’, which Turkey has used to incite the confrontation between leaders, as well as other issues such as the relationship of the EU with the United States of Joe Biden and the situation of the dispute with Gibraltar in the absence of ratification of the Brexit agreement by the European Parliament.

What reading do you make of the ‘sofagate’?

The reading is extraordinarily remarkable diplomatic rudeness on Erdogan’s part. You have to analyze if there is something else behind it. EU-Turkey relations have always been very complicated and at the same time very necessary. Good understanding between the EU and Turkey is essential in many things: not only in the field of security, but also in immigration control. That is if we want to avoid a migratory conflict like the one that occurred a few years ago with the massive displacements from Syria to the Greek islands, mainly, which caused one of the biggest crises in the EU and which remains unresolved because we are unable to find a solution. .

That agreement was based on Turkey’s undertaking to grant asylum to immigrants who had entered the EU clandestinely and illegally, mainly through mafias. He promised to accept their readmission to Turkish territory in exchange for immigrants who came through legal channels. This managed to quell a crisis that came close to destabilizing the EU in general and Greece in particular. In exchange for? In exchange for financial support to attend to the migrants who were forwarded to Turkey, in exchange for accelerating the negotiations on the Turkish candidacy that continues to sleep the sleep of the just, and a visa agreement for the Turks. The latter required changes in the Turkish anti-terrorism law, and Erdogan clearly said that they were not going to touch him because of the Kurdish problem. They complained that they were doing an important service to the EU without receiving adequate compensation.

It appears that Erdogan is mimicking Putin in his tactics to undermine the EU’s external reputation, because Erdogan was not short of chairs when he met Ursula von der Leyen’s predecessor, Jean-Claude Juncker.

That is, with Russia. Sends you a message that they are not happy with us. That is why I say that the crisis is much deeper than it seems. If he has done it, it has been consciously and to send a message. I refuse to believe that the Turkish protocol did not know that a president of the European Commission is given the proper treatment. In diplomacy, it doesn’t happen that you take her to a couch. If you have, it is to indicate your annoyance, and if it is true, you have done it in the clumsiest way possible.

The European People’s Party, the most powerful group in the European Parliament, has announced that it will summon Von der Leyen and the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, for the next plenary session. What are they going to say especially to the latter?

That it has to defend the dignity of the European institutions and respect one of the Union’s cardinal principles, which is gender equality and non-discrimination. His has been ‘sustain it and not amend it’. You have not been able to recognize the error and it is the worst thing you could do.

Is Von der Leyen’s valuation and reputation crisis marked by his original sin of leading the Commission after the death of the Spitzenkandidaten process (the winning candidate of the European elections)?

That is a buried and resolved issue. The Spitzenkandidaten was ours: Weber is from the same party, that has nothing to do with it. Another thing is that the popularity of Von der Leyen is not at its best due to the errors in the vaccination, that is another thing, and we will see how that ends …

The leader of the Socialists in the European Parliament, the Spanish Iratxe García, has supported her without reservation, at least on the sofagate.

Man, but how can the Socialist Group not support a woman who has been ignored based on her gender. It would be completely absurd. They have no choice.

That the EU has fallen into the trap of autocrats again calls into question the balance of powers in foreign policy of the European project? Are the times leading to the Commission being given more and more power to the detriment of the Council?

That requires a treaty change. It is one of the pending subjects that the Union has. At the moment, I do not see improvement in this and I see it essential. Unfortunately, foreign policy still has a much more important intergovernmental streak. The Foreign Affairs Council, which is a formation of the Council, is much more important than the Commission in this regard. An attempt has been made to correct with the “double cap” (or “double hat”, that is, the union in a single figure the position of high representative, of the Council, and the Commissioner for Foreign Relations “), but it really remains fundamental competence of Member States. It is one of the things that we have to advance.

Is it possible to suspect that High Representative Josep Borrell did not attend after the “humiliation” of his visit to Moscow?

No, that is giving height to the mission.

Is it a coincidence that the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi was the leader who has been the most forceful in the condemnation to the point of risking his first diplomatic crisis?

Draghi is a heavyweight in European politics. As president of the European Central Bank he is extremely well regarded in Brussels, and that has made it easier for the Italian parties to make him prime minister. He is a first division character. Draghi is one of the characters that I admire the most.

Does the Commission need a first division leader a la Draghi?

No, Von der Leyen’s vaccination campaign has not gone well and that has determined that his popularity is now lower. It would be completely irresponsible to provoke a crisis in the Commission now.

After the image crises in Russia and Turkey, is the EU in a position to maintain this pulse with China or at least its change of tone towards Beijing?

Diplomacy always has a double language. For example, what Putin does in Russia. Probably the one that has most condemned Russia’s domestic politics has been Germany. However, what Germany has reached has been an agreement with Russia to establish a gas pipeline that goes directly from Russia to Germany. Condemnation, on the one hand, but close relations on the other. In diplomacy things are never black or white. China is absolutely obvious that it is both an indispensable partner and a very dangerous competitor. The arrival of Biden is not going to change that perception. For the US, China remains the competitor. This competition takes place in many areas: technology (5G, Huawei), the use of vaccines as a political weapon, the silk road … What is going to change is the way of approaching it. Trump was very much in favor of approaching it unilaterally, and Biden is seeking an EU collaboration to tackle the problem together. And I think that is the right thing to do.

So, are you already noticing the change in EU-US relations? with Biden?

Absolutely. Trump was a declared enemy of the EU, what he always sought was the weakening of the EU.

And is the regulation of the tech giants still a major stumbling block in that transatlantic relationship?

The United States has signaled that it wants to advance in this area. That has also changed. It is the principle that large multinationals, in this case digital ones, pay taxes wherever their activities and profits are located. It is already being dealt with in the OECD, in the US … We are all in agreement. Another thing is how it is implemented, eh?

The great powers seem determined to pursue tax competition. BIden itself has presented its plan for a minimum global corporate tax. Taking into account the case of Gibraltar -the subject on which Garcia-Margallo has just published the book ‘Gibraltar. The second surrender ‘together with Fernando Eguidazu (former secretary of state for the EU) – how does this change in trend affect Spain? How do you assess this double message of concern about tax evasion and at the same time your treatment of Gibraltar?

It is good for Spain, taking into account this pre-agreement that the government of Spain has reached with the United Kingdom, and that attempt by the government to exclude Gibraltar from the tax haven catalog when it has not changed at all: it still does not have VAT, taxes on tobacco, alcohol and oil, being the headquarters of companies that do not pay taxes on profits. Alfredo (Pérez Rubalcaba) always told me: “Look, that thing about the flag and sovereignty does not put children on them, it is an old-fashioned issue, but it does put the issue of tax evasion on them.” It is not understood that a government, which is so scandalized by what is happening in Switzerland or the Panama papers, has signed an agreement that allows Gibraltar to continue being a tax haven to the detriment of the Spanish and community coffers. At the moment, Gibraltar is a Spaniard who does not pay taxes; you live in Gibraltar, but you can have your home on the Costa del Sol; You have access to Spanish health care but you do not make the income tax return. The other big question: what company is going to establish itself in the Campo de Gibraltar if it can do so in Gibraltar, being able to access the Internal Market without paying taxes? That is if you want to develop the Campo de Gibraltar and that it is not always a precarious economy.

To conclude, in this month that the period for the presentation of the recovery plans ends, how is the Madrid campaign and episodes such as Vallecas being seen from Brussels?

In Brussels it is not understood that there are socialists and communists within the government. The alarms went off when Pablo Iglesias says that Spain is not a consolidated democracy at a time when compliance with the rule of law for the granting of European funds is being discussed, in the case of Hungary and Poland, so it is not understood what what are you doing.

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