Recession in democracy
Ali Babacan, Turkish deputy prime minister responsible for the economy, told an interesting anecdote yesterday in a conference at the Hürriyet building in Istanbul.
The tale was about a panel he had moderated recently in Germany. As the story goes, a certain official from a Middle East country had made an interesting comment after listening carefully to the economic and political situation of Europe. “You Europeans are ruled by democracy,” the official said. “We see what kind of situation you are in now. And now you are giving advice to us on democracy. We are going to think twice about that.”
“To get out of an economic crisis is very important for Europe,” Babacan said in yesterday’s meeting. “If the eurozone disintegrates, the European Union as a peace project will lose strength. The world needs a stronger Europe.”
Turkish government’s economy boss also said European leaders must do whatever possible to keep the eurozone together for the sake of peace and stability, because thanks to the Arab Spring the region is moving into a long period of uncertainties under transitional regimes.
While he was saying those words, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan was addressing the Black Sea Energy and Economy Forum hosted by the Atlantic Council in another district of Istanbul.
Speaking on the declining regime in neighboring Syria, Erdoğan was pointing out that Beshar al-Assad has failed to draw any lessons from Libya and strongly warned him again to stop using violence against his own people. Chuck Hagel, the co-chairman of Atlantic Council and one of U.S. President Barack Obama’s intelligence advisors in the same meeting was commenting on the probability of intervention in Syria, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was warning of the possibility of a civil war, asking the Arab League to make a call to both the Assad regime and its armed opponents to stop fighting.
Alain Juppe, the French foreign minister is expected to have detailed talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu (following his meeting with Erdoğan) on how to start a joint effort with Turkey to approach the Syrian opposition for a quicker and peaceful replacement of the Assad regime, which is increasingly isolated day by day.
The situation in the region is tense and European democracies are not at their best time to be shown as an example for Middle Eastern people.
Italy’s new Prime Minister Mario Monti’s understanding of politics is better without elected politicians in a revisited Bonapartist style.
Babacan said yesterday Turkey wished success to technocrat governments in Italy and Greece with doubts.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s words earlier this week about the worst days of Europe since World War II were immediately echoed in Britain Prime Minister David Cameron’s statement, who was taking the opportunity to define Europe from scratch.
Speaking of Germany, the country has opened a detailed investigation after the arrest of an intelligence-related neo-Nazi group because of the murder of eight Turks and one Greek in years past that might end up as an even darker story.
The EU’s economy commissioner Olli Rehn had warned recently about a worse recession in 2012, but it seems it will be valid for the European democracies as well