Ponta, la Bucharest Forum: Poziţia naturală a României, de frontieră estică a UE şi NATO, e o uriaşă oportunitate pe care putem să o folosim sau să o ratăm

Putin 's Eurasian Union

Ponta, la Bucharest Forum: Poziţia naturală a României, de frontieră estică a UE şi NATO, e o uriaşă oportunitate pe care putem să o folosim sau să o ratăm

Written by Ian Bond, 02 October 2014
From economie

Roundtable on 'The future of the EU's Eastern Partnership and the European Neighbourhood Policy'

Roundtable on 'The future of the EU's Eastern Partnership and the European Neigh

Roundtable on 'The future of the EU's Eastern Partnership and the European Neighbourhood Policy'

29 October 2014

With Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy.

Location info

London

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Gas on troubled waters?

Gas on troubled waters?

Gas on troubled waters?

Written by Rem Korteweg, 13 January 2014

The discovery of natural gas resources beneath Cypriot waters is complicating the region’s politics. If poorly managed, the development of Cypriot gas could harden political divisions on the island and increase tensions with Turkey. But, if well-managed, it presents a rare opportunity to improve relations on the island, advance the region’s diplomatic and economic outlook and produce a foreign policy victory for Europe. The central question is how Cyprus should bring its natural gas to market. The EU has mainly focused on the contribution that eastern Mediterranean hydrocarbons can make towards meeting its energy objectives, but it should push for a Cypriot export option that favours regional stability and promotes reconciliation on the island. A tricky diplomatic chess-game waits.

The partition of Cyprus is a stain on the idea of a Europe that is ‘whole and free’, and is a huge irritant in the EU’s relations with Turkey, an increasingly important partner on energy and foreign policy matters. A solution to the Cypriot stalemate could unblock EU-NATO relations: Turkey and Cyprus have been preventing the two organisations discussing strategic issues together or making full use of each other’s assets. The EU and NATO co-operate with one hand tied behind their backs, harming Europe’s security.

In 2011, US-based Noble Energy announced the discovery of a natural gas field, dubbed Aphrodite, in Cyprus’ south-eastern maritime zone. Initially its size was assessed at around 5 to 8 trillion cubic feet (tcf), but a second appraisal drilling in 2013 corrected this estimate downward to 4.1 tcf. (By way of  comparison, Europe consumes nearly 18 tcf annually.) Nicosia wants to export much of its gas to attract foreign capital and alleviate the burden of the €10 billion IMF-EU bailout it received in March 2013 (and an earlier Russian loan of €2.5 billion). The Cypriots desperately need economic growth: the recession-hit economy is expected to contract by nearly 8 per cent in 2013 and unemployment stands at 20 per cent.

Cyprus must find a way of bringing its gas to market. Among the possible options, the cheapest, a short pipeline from Cyprus to Turkey, is unrealistic. Although a gas pipeline could theoretically be part of any political negotiation between Ankara and Nicosia, the two sides are not talking, trust is absent and Nicosia would be unlikely to cede any control over its crown jewels to Ankara.

Relations between the two sides are very poor. Turkey and the unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have staked claims on parts of the waters surrounding the island, including areas suspected to be gas-rich (for a map of the overlapping claims,
see page 7 of this publication from the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies). Exploration is proceeding, however, with France's Total and Italy's ENI among those involved. Without an agreement on maritime boundaries, this will increase tensions with Turkey. Ankara does not recognise the government in Nicosia and has threatened military force if Cyprus allows drilling in the disputed maritime zone. Until now, no discoveries have been made in contested waters. But ENI (in a consortium with South Korea’s KOGAS) expects to start drilling this year in areas which the Turkish Cypriots claim. The sale of several other areas has been delayed because Ankara claims parts of them. To underline its seriousness, in early 2013 Turkey suspended some of ENI’s Turkish operations in retaliation for its Cypriot move. Turkish grandstanding is unlikely to lead to a military conflict, but Cyprus has taken precautions and is strengthening its defence relationships, including with Israel and Italy, and is set to procure two French naval vessels. So for the time being a pipeline to Turkey is impossible.

Nicosia says that economic decisions should not be stalled by politics and is pushing ahead with the development of its resources. It has an interest in marketing the gas as soon as possible; energy analysts expect that global gas prices may start to fall in the next decade as new sources, such as US shale gas, become globally available. Cyprus’ energy minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis has estimated profits for Cyprus from the Aphrodite field to be between €8.8 and €13.2 billion.

The second export option is a pipeline to Greece via Crete. In October 2013, the European Commission designated the proposed EastMed pipeline a ‘project of common interest’, potentially making it eligible for EU funding. The European Commission is championing an agenda to diversify its energy imports away from Russia and considers gas from the eastern Mediterranean, including Cyprus, a welcome alternative. The EastMed pipeline would bypass Turkey, denying Ankara further influence over Europe’s energy supply as a transit country. (If the EU chooses to import gas from the Caspian, or from Iraq or Iran, Turkey is the transit corridor.) However, because of the depth of the Mediterranean, the EastMed pipeline raises engineering challenges which could make costs prohibitively high. Also, the pipeline would do little to reduce Cypriot-Turkish tensions.

Nicosia’s favoured option is to construct an LNG terminal at Vassiliko, in southern Cyprus. An LNG terminal would give Cyprus maximum export independence, allowing it to sell its gas globally – including to the lucrative Asian market – rather than tie itself by pipeline to one customer. An LNG terminal could turn Cyprus into a regional energy hub in the eastern Mediterranean; Israel (or even Lebanon and Syria) could eventually export gas through a Cypriot terminal. Extending a pipeline connecting the Aphrodite field and the LNG terminal to Israel’s neighbouring offshore gas fields would be relatively straightforward.

Much will depend on the amount of gas available. At a recent conference in Nicosia, energy experts from across Europe questioned the viability of the LNG terminal. Cypriot gas discoveries may be insufficient for the development of even a small-scale LNG plant. Noble Energy has admitted that 6 or 7 tcf would be needed to warrant the required investment of €8-€10 billion. Cyprus either needs to find more gas, or attract gas from its neighbours to feed into the LNG terminal.

One of those neighbours, Israel, has made the largest discoveries so far in the eastern Mediterranean, including the 18.9 tcf Leviathan field and the 10 tcf Tamar field. The Israeli High Court has decided that 40 per cent of Israel’s natural gas resources will be made available for export. 

For Israel, constructing a pipeline to Turkey is the cheapest option, but is geopolitically complex. Diplomatic relations between Ankara and Israel have slowly improved since Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologised for the Gaza flotilla incident but Turkey still maintains that Israel must pay compensation to the victims. However, an Israeli-Turkish pipeline is in Ankara’s interest. Not only would Israel’s sizeable resources contribute to satisfying Turkey’s growing energy demands, but it would also strengthen Turkey’s role as a transit country.

A Israeli-Turkish deal would not preclude Israel from co-operating with Cyprus either, as the government of Israel has indicated that it favours a combination of export options. It is unlikely that Israel will opt to export all of its gas through a Cypriot LNG terminal, as this would make Israel’s exports vulnerable to Cypriot politics and security issues. But it may export some.

All this creates the possibility of a grand bargain between Turkey, Israel and Cyprus. Nicosia would receive a share of Israeli gas exports to process through its LNG terminal, making it economically viable, and in return Nicosia would acquiesce to an Israeli-Turkish pipeline crossing its exclusive economic zone. Turkey would secure more access to gas, and Israel would have diversified its export routes. This mutually beneficial deal could calm the waters between Ankara and Nicosia, and encourage reconciliation on the island. Although difficult, it is the option that would produce the best economic, political and strategic benefits for most parties concerned, including the EU.

Russia, however, might be a spoiler in such a triangular arrangement. The Russian government has a commercial and political interest in maximising the amount of Russian gas that reaches Europe and restricting the amount of non-Russian gas. Russian energy firms have been making inroads in the eastern Mediterranean, in particular by securing gas exploration rights in Syria and flirting with Lebanon. In early 2013 Gazprom signed a deal to export LNG from Israel’s Tamar field. So far no Russian energy company is active in Cyprus offshore, but Russia still has significant economic and political influence on the island. The EU should remain aware of Russian commercial and political efforts in the region.

Cyprus’ ability to export LNG greatly depends on Israeli choices. For if political obstacles continue to stand in the way of an Israeli-Turkish pipeline, Tel Aviv might simply develop an LNG terminal of its own (floating offshore or at an onshore location), making a Cypriot LNG plant obsolete. The EU should continue to engage with Israel, and energy companies like Noble Energy, throwing its weight behind regional co-operation around an LNG terminal in Cyprus. The EU’s foreign policy service should also work together with the United States to help improve political and economic relations between Israel and Turkey, in particular a possible pipeline.

The EU should think strategically about linking its energy and foreign policies. Brussels should use its leverage of being the most likely destination of natural gas from the region. When making its assessment of Cyprus’ gas export options, it must consider the impact on regional stability and the potential to achieve progress towards Cypriot reconciliation. If not, the story of Cypriot natural gas may become another tale of missed opportunities.

Rem Korteweg is a senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform.

CER/Edam 9th Bodrum roundtable

CER/Edam 9th Bodrum roundtable

CER/Edam 9th Bodrum roundtable

10 October 2013 - 12 October 2013

Speakers included: Egemen Bağış, Carl Bildt, Josep Borrell, Arnab Das, Kemal Derviş, Rima Maktabi, Umut Oran, John Peet, Philip Stephens, Nathalie Tocci

Location info

Bodrum
Turkey

Event information download: Events report from the 9th Bodrum roundtable

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Positive signals sent to Balkans on EU membership

Enlargement

Positive signals sent to Balkans on EU membership

By Rem Korteweg, 20 October 2013
From Monitor Frontier Markets

Link to press quote:
http://monitorfrontiermarkets.com/news-story/positive-signals-sent-to-balkans-on-eu-membership/

EU betrays cultural blind spot in handling Turkey

EU betrays cultural blind spot in handling Turkey spotlight image

EU betrays cultural blind spot in handling Turkey

21 June 2013
From Financial Times

Turkey’s Twitter generation is its European future

Gezi park protest

Turkey’s Twitter generation is its European future

Written by Heather Grabbe, 19 June 2013

The protests that started in Istanbul’s Gezi Park two weeks ago have spread across Turkey and show little sign of dying down. They signify a clash between a modernising Turkish society and a still rigid and old-fashioned political system. The protests have resulted in the tragic loss of several lives and are endangering Turkey’s hard-won economic stability as investors take fright. But they also have a silver lining. They might force the government to reconsider its rejection of pluralism. And they might even help to revive Turkey's moribund accession process to the EU.

Turkey's government has spent millions of euros over the last decade on European advertising campaigns to update its image and lessen public opposition to its EU membership bid. The Gezi Park protestors have had a more profound impact on Turkey’s international image in just a few weeks. European news bulletins and social media have been showing a new generation of Turks who, in articulate English, explain how much they value democracy, personal freedoms and tolerance between people with different lifestyles. The colourful banners of Taksim Square have replaced the stock images of mosques, Anatolian peasants or monumental Bosphorus bridges. The huge change that has taken place in Turkish society over the past two decades is suddenly evident to European voters, many of whom previously equated Turkey with Islamism, Kurdish terrorists and mass migration. The images from Gezi Park resonate particularly with younger Europeans who see it as Turkey’s version of the Occupy movements, the Spanish ‘Indignados’ and German ‘Wutbürger’. It is these younger Europeans who will vote on Turkish EU accession if and when the accession negotiations are finished.

The Twitter effect is a new element in the Turkey-EU relationship. The laughable failure of Turkey’s mainstream press to cover the protests accurately has driven people to rely on Twitter and Facebook as their main source of news. Twitter could not have asked for a better marketing campaign than Erdogan’s ranting against “lies on social media”. Turkey is also a trending topic in social media conversations within the EU: here, comments are at the same time becoming more in favour of Turkish accession (because of its people) and more sceptical of it (because of its government).

The EU’s dilemma is how to encourage Turkish society without rewarding the government. The conditionality of the accession talks is a blunt weapon. Germany or another member-state might be tempted to block the opening of the next chapter in the negotiations (on regional policy) to express disdain about government’s brutal reaction to the protests. But such sanctions would only feed the paranoia that Erdogan’s party is spreading about alleged international plots against Turkey. They would reduce the EU’s leverage still further.

Instead, the EU should hug Turkey closer at this great moment in Turkey’s democratic journey. The EU is right to criticise police violence and repression of the media in unequivocal terms – and it should also engage in an intense dialogue with the Turkish government about how to increase pluralism and personal freedoms. There are chapters in the negotiations that could help to guide Turkey through this major transition – such as Chapters 23 and 24 on fundamental rights, justice and home affairs – which Cyprus and other EU countries should unblock.

In a way, the Gezi Park protests are a victory of the accession process so far. Erdogan rose to power by reassuring Turkey’s more liberal, secular classes that he was serious about EU accession and the democratic and economic opening this entailed. Especially during his early years in power, Erdogan significantly strengthened the freedoms of assembly, association and expression. Today’s protests are the result of this enormous opening of the Turkish political space.

Walking around Taksim Square before it was cleared by the police, I saw the vast variety of political opinions and causes represented there: pictures of imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan were held up next to a banner for the Muslim Anti-Capitalist League; environmentalists sat in their tents alongside self-declared Communists; youngsters played music while headscarved mothers pushed prams round the park. The atmosphere was festive and friendly, a remarkable display of tolerance and mutual respect. Most of the protesters eschewed violence even in the face of police brutality. The dozens of causes gathered there have conflicting ideologies and visions for Turkey. What unites them is a desire for more pluralism and space for dissent. The fact that these small, diverse organisations immediately sprouted when a breath of oxygen came into the public space is testament to the vibrancy of Turkish civil society.

The problem is that Erdogan’s old-fashioned leadership is more and more at odds with this more pluralist and modern society. The battles between police and protestors are part of a much bigger battle between ‘leader knows best’ politics and modern social participation. Many, if not most, Turks still favour strong leadership and the education system promotes a reverence for Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as the father of the nation.

But Erdogan’s reaction to the protests has made the paternalistic style look like Victorian parenting techniques in a modern family. Erdogan initially refused to enter a dialogue with the rebellious children until they stopped disobeying him. Turkey’s citizens, however, are no longer content to be infantilised. They do not want the prime minister to tell them to drink yoghurt, bear three children and stop drinking alcohol after 10 pm. Erdogan’s ministers, who blamed banks, speculators, a global conspiracy – anyone but themselves – for the protests only showed how out of touch they are with important parts of their own society. Erdogan would have done better to copy Spain’s Mariano Rajoy in his dialogue with the Indignados than Vladimir Putin lambasting Pussy Riot.

Erdogan’s AKP is not alone in having missed or misinterpreted Turkey’s social opening. The other big parties that have dominated Turkish politics for decades fared no better. The secularist centre-left CHP party – which Erdogan has accused of organising the protests – was nowhere to be seen in Gezi Park. Therefore, Gezi Park is also an expression of frustration about the AKP’s (or more precisely Erdogan’s) dominance of Turkish politics, not only over the last 15 years but also for the foreseeable future. It is an outcry of the many social groups who feel disenfranchised by the AKP’s ‘tyranny of the majority’.

The underlying problem is that the AKP fears pluralism. It equates criticism of the government with treachery to the Turkish state that needs to be punished. There is a chance that these protests will help Turkey to start accepting its diversity. If the protests keep spreading, Erdogan and his party will be forced to accept that the expression of opinions and beliefs that they dislike is part of any modern democracy. Europeans should help this process along, not reject Turkey at this critical moment.

Heather Grabbe is director of the Open Society European Policy Institute in Brussels. She was senior advisor to Olli Rehn when he was Commissioner for enlargement. She previously wrote on EU-Turkey relations while deputy director of the Centre for European Reform.

Comments

Added on 28 Jun 2013 at 11:48 by Anonymous

While Heather Grabbe's article is a nearly accurate assesment of the social developments in one portion (perhaps 50%) of the Turkish society it fails to diagnose the chronic disease (i.e the "sickman of Europe") in the other half, specifically Islam's claim to dominate the worldly affairs of governence. Whereas the secularist members of the Turkish society demand that sovereignty belongs to humans (i.e the people) Erdogan and his crew claim that it belongs to God, and that his gang are God’s representatives at least here in Turkey, not unlike the claims of Iranian mullahs. Unfortunately the West has been either missing this point or regarding this archaic notion as just another valid political opinion! This is very dangerous. We have witnessed this danger in the case of the so called “Arab Springs”. The West extended so much undeserved credit to such movements that nearly all of the Middle East is now turning into religious monarchies under the disguise of “democracies”. The West’s obession with democracy and its imposition of it on societies not ready for democracy has led to “elected tyrants” at the expense of accidentally well educated contemporary intellectuals in such societies. Dominance of ignorance and its rule in underdeveloped dictatorships are perhaps beneficial to the West for obvious reasons, but up to a point. At that point the principle of “diminishing returns” goes into effect. That is, the more the West supports the ignorant tyrants in these underdeveloped countries the less it will get back. Consider the tyrants in South America, the Carrebean, Iraq, Iran, The Arabian peninsula, the far East (Indonesia, Philippines), and finally North Africa, the Middle East and Turkey. It was a mistake on the part of EU to give the opportunity to a religious fascist government in Turkey the chance to make the propaganda to its people that EU will allow Turkey enter the EU. How could this be when hundreds of the most precious innocent people of Turkish citizens are decaying in dungeons throughout the country? Would some economic success justify such inhuman practices? Would not Europe degrade its own values if it admitted Turkey to the EU?
Heather Grabbe suggest at some point in this article that Europe should reward the Turkish society without rewarding Erdogan’s government. I do not know how this will be possible. If the EU opens further chapters of accession this will so much please Erdogan’s government (especially the arrogant Egement Bagis) that they will interpret this as EU’s falling on its knees to keep good relations with Turkey. On the other hand punishment is also a part of the training process isn’t it?

Added on 28 Jun 2013 at 11:45 by Anonymous

While Heather Grabbe's article is a nearly accurate assesment of the social developments in one portion (perhaps 50%) of the Turkish society it fails to diagnose the chronic disease (i.e the "sickman of Europe") in the other half, specifically Islam's claim to dominate the worldly affairs of governence. Whereas the secularist members of the Turkish society demand that sovereignty belongs to humans (i.e the people) Erdogan and his crew claim that it belongs to God, and that his gang are God’s representatives at least here in Turkey, not unlike the claims of Iranian mullahs. Unfortunately the West has been either missing this point or regarding this archaic notion as just another valid political opinion! This is very dangerous. We have witnessed this danger in the case of the so called “Arab Springs”. The West extended so much undeserved credit to such movements that nearly all of the Middle East is now turning into religious monarchies under the disguise of “democracies”. The West’s obession with democracy and its imposition of it on societies not ready for democracy has led to “elected tyrants” at the expense of accidentally well educated contemporary intellectuals in such societies. Dominance of ignorance and its rule in underdeveloped dictatorships are perhaps beneficial to the West for obvious reasons, but up to a point. At that point the principle of “diminishing returns” goes into effect. That is, the more the West supports the ignorant tyrants in these underdeveloped countries the less it will get back. Consider the tyrants in South America, the Carrebean, Iraq, Iran, The Arabian peninsula, the far East (Indonesia, Philippines), and finally North Africa, the Middle East and Turkey. It was a mistake on the part of EU to give the opportunity to a religious fascist government in Turkey the chance to make the propaganda to its people that EU will allow Turkey enter the EU. How could this be when hundreds of the most precious innocent people of Turkish citizens are decaying in dungeons throughout the country? Would some economic success justify such inhuman practices? Would not Europe degrade its own values if it admitted Turkey to the EU?
Heather Grabbe suggest at some point in this article that Europe should reward the Turkish society without rewarding Erdogan’s government. I do not know how this will be possible. If the EU opens further chapters of accession this will so much please Erdogan’s government (especially the arrogant Egement Bagis) that they will interpret this as EU’s falling on its knees to keep good relations with Turkey. On the other hand punishment is also a part of the training process isn’t it?

Added on 27 Jun 2013 at 12:16 by Anonymous

Thanks for a neat recap and analysis of the Gezi Park protests. I would like to add some information regarding CHPs position.
The movement started independent from CHP as people unilaterally joined crowds at the evening of 31 May and on 1 June because they believed it was the right thing to do in order to show their dissatisfaction with the government and its definition of democracy.
On first of June, as the crowds have gotten bigger and bigger, CHP decided to have a rally in Kadikoy (at the asian side of Istanbul, far away from Gezi Park). This plan was not welcome at all by the protesters at Gezi Park because many believed that this was an attempt to hijack and take political advantage of the movement which did not start with the leadership of CHP or any other political party. People at Gezi Park expressed their disappointment with CHPs plan to rally at Kadikoy and instead asked everyone (including CHP) to continue gathering at Gezi Park. CHP was fast to reevaluate its position and decided to cancel the rally in Kadikoy and gather at Gezi Park.
I personally think that this was a good move as otherwise people participating independently in the resistance would see CHPs move as an opportunistic one and this would lessen their popularity within the demonstrators. At Gezi Park there were many people holding signs along the lines "This is not the demonstration of a political party, this is an independent civil resistance".
In the days that followed, while CHP suporters and leadership personally supported the movement, they have been careful not to involve CHP institutionaly due to reasons above. This was important as in the end (or as a next step) the demands of the demonstrators will have to be expressed in a political form at which point a CHP in a warmer relationship with Gezi Park may prove more valuable.

S.Y., PhD

Added on 25 Jun 2013 at 07:10 by Isik O

You claim this is the time for the EU to bring Turkey into the European fold even more. But surely you realize this would only be interpreted as a political success by the AKP? After years of stalled negotiations, what kind of message do you think it would send to Turkey's true democrats that in the midst of such protests, the EU chooses now, of all times, to open new accession chapters? It amounts to nothing more than rewarding a spoiled child!

Erdogan's biggest claim for victory is that his party has provided economic growth and political stability. We need to demonstrate that that is not the case: suspend trade agreements with Turkey and condemn his authoritarian clampdown. Let's see how long he lasts once Turkey's business community withdraws their support as they see the hole Erdogan is dragging the country into widen.

Added on 23 Jun 2013 at 18:09 by Anonymous

Turkey deserved the right to join EU long ago.Should EU block her now , new generation modern Turks will be lost forever since Turkish politicians do well to make them believe EU is unreliable and will never let Turkey be a member of the union.

Added on 23 Jun 2013 at 16:06 by Anonymous

To my dear European friend,

As a Turkish national, I can understand if you don't want Turkey in the EU. However, what can be the ratinale behind blocking negotiations with Turkey, especially the topics about the individual freedom, democracy and human rights(such as Chapters 23 and 24 on fundamental rights, justice and home affairs)?

No matter what is the result of Turkey's EU process, Turkey will always be your neighbor. Isn't it also in your best interest to have a more democratic neighbor? I'm not even bringing how the EU's sincerity about praising values such as democracy and human rights will be questioned by the Turkish youth, which by the way, will only help people who are against the European values.

I will see you my European friend, in Berlin, in Istanbul, in New York, in Shanghai or in Dubai and I'm hoping that I will be able to believe you as we talk about democracy and human rights as universal values.

Mehmet

Added on 23 Jun 2013 at 16:04 by Anonymous

To my dear European friend,

As a Turkish national, I can understand if you don't want Turkey in the EU. However, what can be the ratinale behind blocking negotiations with Turkey, especially the topics about the individual freedom, democracy and human rights(such as Chapters 23 and 24 on fundamental rights, justice and home affairs)?

No matter what is the result of Turkey's EU process, Turkey will always be your neighbor. Isn't it also in your best interest to have a more democratic neighbor? I'm not even bringing how the EU's sincerity about praising values such as democracy and human rights will be questioned by the Turkish youth, which by the way, will only help people who are against the European values.

I will see you my European friend, in Berlin, in Istanbul, in New York, in Shanghai or in Dubai and I'm hoping that I will be able to believe you as we talk about democracy and human rights as universal values.

Added on 23 Jun 2013 at 08:11 by Birol Unal

You stated that Erdogan and his party are having difficulty in analysing the root causes of the protests. I fear that they perfectly understand that this is a completely home-grown resistance movement which is a result of year's of power grab by Erdogan. However they want to exploit the events to polarise the society so that they can cement their share of vote within the conservative sections of the society.

Added on 22 Jun 2013 at 22:31 by Anonymous

Turkey's development in last decade under the Erdogan's administration must have disturbed other countries so much that international media and other channels of manipulations saw the Gezi Park protests as a chance to take down the Erdogan Administration. Last 6 months maybe more no PKK attacks were observed. This makes the nationalist party MHP nervious. Because they got nothing else to ask for vote. CHP has already been at Syria's Esed's side because of their Leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu's Alevi/Shii identity. Both parties have lost all their faith in democracy. None asked for early elections as they don't see any chance.

Added on 22 Jun 2013 at 13:28 by Anonymous

I think that countries like the UK should take initiative and develop stronger relations with Turkey, in economy, investments, imigration etc. prior to EU memberships.

Added on 20 Jun 2013 at 18:54 by simon forrester

As usual CER has penned a great snapshot of analysis, but there are a couple of conclusions that are somewhat unfounded:

'Turkey’s citizens, however, are no longer content to be infantilised' - may be a reasonable paraphrasing of certain segments of the population, but there is a large proportion of Turkey's citizens who embrace pursuit of a type of paternalistic sultancy that the Ottomans couldn't deliver. Urban centres such Aksaray, Asian Istanbul, Kayseri, Konya, Rize, Siirt, mostly welcome the marginalising of non-conservative lifestyles.

'The secularist centre-left CHP party – which Erdogan has accused of organising the protests – was nowhere to be seen in Gezi Park.' - on the first weekend of the 'Gezi protests', the CHP leader was planning to lead a gathering of CHP supporters into Taksim, but cancelled the action having judged that it would be interpreted as political opportunism. And since, the CHP, and other opposition parties, have deliberately avoided trying to make political party capital from the unrest. After years of completely failing to offer a strategic alternative to the AKP vision, and thereby distancing themselves from the supposedly 'a-political' silent minority, the CHP has finally begun to understand that it needs to re-shape its relationship with liberals. Thus, its lack of appearance in Gezi is not an oversight, but a long-awaited insight from CHP

Simon Forrester
Eurasia Social Change
Ankara

Added on 20 Jun 2013 at 06:09 by Anonymous

I agree with most of your analysis however I would like to add some information regarding CHPs position.

The movement started independent from CHP as people unilaterally joined crowds at the evening of 31 May and on 1 June because they believed it was the right thing to do in order to show their dissatisfaction with the government and its definition of democracy.

On first of June, as the crowds have gotten bigger and bigger, CHP decided to have a rally in Kadikoy (at the asian side of Istanbul, far away from Gezi Park). This plan was not welcome at all by the protesters at Gezi Park because many believed that this was an attempt to hijack and take political advantage of the movement which did not start with the leadership of CHP or any other political party. People at Gezi Park expressed their disappointment with CHPs plan to rally at Kadikoy and instead asked everyone (including CHP) to continue gathering at Gezi Park. CHP was fast to reevaluate its position and decided to cancel the rally in Kadikoy and gather at Gezi Park.

I personally think that this was a good move as otherwise people participating independently in the resistance would see CHP as opportunistic politics and this would lessen their popularity within the demonstrators. At Gezi Park there were many people holding signs along the lines "This is not the demonstration of a political party, this is an independent civil resistance".

In the days that followed, while CHP supporters and leadership personally supported the movement, they were careful not to involve CHP institutionaly due to reasons mentioned above. This was important as in the end (or as a next step) the demands of the demonstrators will have to be expressed in a political form at which point a CHP in a warmer relationship with Gezi Parkı may be more valuable.

Turkey & the Balkans

The European External Action Service

The European External Action Service

The European External Action Service

Written by Charles Grant, 15 March 2013

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