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Hiding behind a sofa: European hypocrisy

by Bernard Mon Apr 19th, 2021 at 06:26:45 PM EST

Coming back to the infamous "sofagate" incident after two weeks, there are still a couple of points that look important and are worth pointing out.

First, cui bono? There are good arguments that the snub wasn't deliberate because (1) Erdogan had nothing to gain from humiliating VDL and the EU, and (2) Turkey wanted to cool down the relations that had gone quite tense with EU countries like Greece or Cyprus (or even France), and discuss more concrete things like customs union, which is very important for Turkey. The former Turkey ambassador to the EU blames the faux-pas on "on inexperience and a lack of institutional memory on both sides."

Then again, the opposite view is that Erdogan did humiliate the EU because he could and would never do that to, say, Merkel. In any case, there could have been a mixture of both, actually.

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

Second, the cynical view: we shouldn't forget the fact that Europe is actually very dependent on Turkey; I mean all European countries, not only the EU as an institution.

Why? EU countries have been paying Turkey a lot of money (€6 billion) to essentially keep the "brown hordes" from moving to Europe in even greater numbers. Turkey has received millions of Syrian refugees on its soil, more than all European countries. Even if the Syrians in Turkey are enduring a lot of discrimination and abuse from unscrupulous employers, the uncomfortable fact remains that Erdogan's regime has essentially blocked further immigration to Europe.

OK, some EU countries, like Germany, have accepted a lot of migrants, and, in proportion to their population, the Scandinavian countries have received an even greater number, but many countries in central Europe have adamantly refused to tarnish their white Christian identity and refused to accept any refugee from the Middle East. All these thinly veiled white supremacists are also the first to express their reprobation, when Erdogan (a Muslim man!) looks like he's taking the EU down a peg or two.

In the wake of Sofagate, there has been also much tut-tutting over Turkey's announced withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, that very few people knew about before, let alone had bothered to read: yet another opportunity to point the finger at a bad Muslim. Of course, very few comments pointed out that many EU countries didn't sign that convention, in the name of family values and Christian values.

The question is not really whether the EU wants to be taken seriously or not: it should start with whether the EU member countries want to take the EU seriously; given the cacophony and contradictions over a lot of international policy issues - not only immigration, there is quite some work on the table.

Sofagate scars linger as von der Leyen, Michel hold peace talks

But it was clear that tensions lingered between the two leaders and their teams over the episode, which laid bare divisions at the top of the EU for a week as the two camps were unable to bury the hatchet.

Following the meeting, a Commission official said bluntly that "the president made clear that she will never allow such a situation to arise again."

Bravo Ursula 💪🏼

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Mon Apr 19th, 2021 at 07:51:28 PM EST
Over here on the west side of the pond, the only thing in the news is Biden's statement about genocide. From the US viewpoint, Ergodan's missile deal with Russia is a pretty serious commentary on their geopolitical alignment.

The question of Syrian refugees is not really in the media here.

by asdf on Sun Apr 25th, 2021 at 07:48:03 PM EST
I wrote that Europe is very dependent on Turkey. The same can be said of the US, or rather NATO, to the extent that the US still considers NATO as primordial for their interests: Turkey is very important to NATO, as a big military power on the South-eastern flank of the alliance, controlling the Black Sea and providing bases near the Middle-east. Turkey is not going to get dumped by the US, Armenian genocide notwithstanding.
by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Apr 25th, 2021 at 08:31:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Using Greece as leverage vs. Turkey for US interests in oil and gas exploration and distribution. Ambassador Pyatt played a key role in Ukraine in 2014, as he does today as ambassador to Greece.

Visit of Zelensky recently to Erdogan in Ankara was to increase trade and investment. Turkey needs tourists from all of Europe and Ukraine is willing to cooperate. Turkey has historic links to the Tatars in Crimea and the Ottoman Empire coastlines.

Pyatt introduced Palantir to Greece

Palantir: Inflating the Digital Divide

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Apr 25th, 2021 at 11:24:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Turkey has historic links to the Tatars in Crimea and the Ottoman Empire coastlines.

Crimean Tatars, who have been massively deported by Stalin in 1944, and now that Crimea has been annexed - again - by Russia, are subject to persecution. All the more reasons for Turkey to support Ukraine.

Turkey-Ukraine relations have intensified over the past couple of years: free trade agreement, military cooperation... Turkey has reportedly deployed drones, the same ones that helped Azerbaijan kick Armenia out of Nagorno-Karabakh, near Ukraine's eastern border.

by Bernard (bernard) on Mon Apr 26th, 2021 at 06:00:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You may need to update your data points. To celebrate the anniversary or Crimea rejoining Russia Tatar language was given an official status in Crimea.

And according to Levada, the independent (registered as foreign agent in Russia) polling company, majority of the Crimean Tatars in 2020 preferred Russia to Ukraine (which has some serious issues with minorities).

The fact of the matter is that ever since Crimea was illegally (according to the Soviet constitution at the time) transferred to Ukraine in the 50's, as an autonomous region it has tried to gain full autonomy or even rejoin Russia. There were 9 attempts between 1991 and 2014.

What finally triggered the events in 2014 was the Maidan coup and a following attempt by Tatar and Ukrainian demonstrators to storm the Crimean parliament to end the autonomy. This, and the fact that Crimean parliament was not even consulted when Ukraine allowed Tatars the right of return in Crimea did certainly cause a lot of friction at the time between ethnic groups in Crimea.

But apparently things can change.

by pelgus on Mon Apr 26th, 2021 at 08:43:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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