Right messages vs wrong messages in the East Med
There appears to be a difficulty regarding passing on Turkey’s messages to foreign diplomats or Turkey has difficulty in understanding messages from Europe irrespective how strong or clearly they are worded.
Dolmabahçe is a very important palace in the recent history of Turkey. It was not only the place where the founding father of the republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, passed away in 1938. Since a section of it was converted into office of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan it became the undeclared İstanbul government headquarters. What was the message Turkey wanted to pass on at Turkey-EU high level economic dialogue meeting chaired by Treasury Minister Berat Albayrak and European Commission deputy head Jyrki Katainen when some of the European reporters were not allowed to follow the event?
Worse, how could Albayrak, in a rather indifferent attitude say accreditation of some journalists was renewed, while those who could not get renewal, might get it and attend next year’s event, or perhaps cannot get it at all? As Katainen rightly commented, press freedom must be a fundamental right. With over 130 journalists in prison, Turkey definitely does not deserve to be in the list of countries with worse performance as regards not only to press freedom but also transparency, accountability and supremacy of law.
The “Blue Homeland” naval drill was an impressive assertion by Turkey that it became a country capable of defending its fundamental rights and interests be it in the Black Sea, the Aegean or the Mediterranean or simultaneously in two or in all of the seas around the country. Turkey acquiring such a naval defence capability, particularly in view of the fact that despite this country surrounded by seas its maritime capabilities developed so little, is of course a great achievement.
Also, at a time when France, for example, signed defence cooperation agreement with the Greek Cypriot-run Cyprus Republic and has been in efforts to establish a full-fledged naval base that can be used by navies of other EU countries also, expecting Turkey to leave Cyprus and lock itself into Anatolia can best be explained with one word: Nonsense. It is Turkey’s inalienable right as one of the countries with the longest Mediterranean coast to have existential interests in the Mediterranean, particularly in eastern Mediterranean. Britain has sovereign bases on Cyprus. Russia not only has a naval base in Syria but has agreement to use Greek Cypriot naval and air facilities. United States has been using both the British bases and the Greek Cypriot defence facilities. But, Turkey will abandon Cyprus all together to please Greek Cypriots and satisfy their Turkophobia. Someone must invite people with such odd perceptions to common sense.
The “Blue Homeland” is indeed a strong message to the Greek Cypriots, Greece, Britain, France and particularly to e those who refuse to hear despite repeated calls of Turkish Cypriots and Turkey that unilateral hydrocarbon activities around Cyprus were incompatible with the 1960 accords, and the spirit of a negotiated settlement on the island.,
Were they coincidence? The report by Exxon of a rich gas find off Cyprus. The social get-together of the presidents of the two states on the island. The “Blue Homeland” drill.
So far so good. No one can say Turkey was wrong in showing its muscle. Yet, did anyone look at the map of the exercise? Why the whole of Cyprus, together with Turkey, was painted in red as if it belonged to Turkey? Was not that awful?
Such a message, like the exclusion of some Western reporters from a gathering with top EU diplomats is officious nonsense that this country must learn to avoid.
Such actions does not befit Turkey.