Where is Ecuador?
Did you read or hear about it? Turkey has achieved a landmark development and visa requirement in travel between Turkey and Ecuador. Somehow Turks and Ecuadorians must have missed this great news as there were no festivities in either country to celebrate this great achievement. A Turkish-Ecuador accord published in the Official Gazette said Turks visiting Ecuador will have the right to stay in that country for up to 90 days without a visa.
As “brotherly” as Turkey and Ecuador are, the vast majority of Turks probably do not know where Ecuador is on a map of the world. Either the foreign minister or the prime minister probably briefly touched down on Ecuadorian territory, loved the country, appreciated the Ecuadorian government’s willingness to sign some 30 agreements overnight and in return, generously agreed to sign this accord last July in Ankara to waive visa requirements and forge “fraternal relations” between the two “brotherly” nations.
Upon reading this great news I called my dear other half, Aydan, to tell her that we should perhaps spend the coming weekend in Ecuador. I could not understand why, but she said perhaps I should see a doctor because she feared I had a fever. Then I went through a pile of newspapers. Some gave prominence to the looming war in Syria, even though we recently waived the visa requirement for another country. Some papers reported journalist and opposition deputy Mustafa Balbay would complete yesterday his 1,000 days behind bars. All of them were reporting about the secret laparoscopic operation on the “digestive system” of the prime minister. There were complaints from the main opposition leader that the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) was trying to cover up a massive corruption case at the Kayseri municipality, and allegations of corruption at the İzmir municipality abounded throughout the newspapers. Yet, there was no news about the landmark visa-lifting decision of the Turkish and Ecuadorian governments.
Puzzled with the lack of enthusiasm, I turned to Google to learn about our new ally and neighbor so that I may better appreciate this great foreign policy achievement between our zero-problems foreign minister for our country with zero-friends. Alas, Ecuador is a “neighbor” on the other side of the world. Ecuador’s land neighbors are Colombia to the north and Peru to the east and south. I could not find much economic or commercial interaction between Turkey and Ecuador, yet each country had an embassy in the other’s capital city.
Unlike Turkey’s active participation, or, as some opponents claim contract-obligations, in democratization operations in the Middle East, deficiencies of the Turkish military to undertake cross-ocean operations might make it all the more difficult for Turkey to participate in any such program in Latin America. That is a relieving factor. Anyhow, Ecuador has a presidential system our prime minister has long been aspiring to achieve. As in Turkey most of Ecuador’s people are living below the poverty line.
Perhaps our foreign minister, who accidentally occasionally visits Ankara, must have some idea as to why the visa restrictions with Ecuador were lifted.