Friday, June 18, 2010

Erdogan looks East but Putin looks West

Putin was last week in Istanbul, attending the 3rd Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building Measures in Asia (CICA) and the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was there as well. And of course the host, Turkish PM Erdogan. The Turkish PM tried to use his street bully power to convince Putin not to vote in favor of the new resolutions imposed on Iran which the UN security council on that day would vote for. But Putin had other things on his mind; the Islamite threat within Russia and at his borders. And Russia voted along the other 4 permanent members of the UN Security Council together with Bosnia, Nigeria and Mexico. Only Turkey and Brazil, which wants to stand up against the USA - and show their happy independency - voted against. Be aware that Brazil has zero problems with the EU and zero problems with any other Latin American country while Turkey is really swamped in problems with neighboring countries. Brazil wanted to make a statement, that’s all. Turkey did do something different: it voted against its allies.

Back to Russia; there were already signals that Putin, who de facto is the leader of Russia, is looking to cooperate with the USA and the EU, not only for visa-free travel between EU and Russian citizens but also to ‘integrate Russia’s economy and culture with neighbors like the EU and China’ as Newsweek put it in their Cover story of 21 June 2010 so nicely.The USA is ready to push Russia into the WTO, where it wants to be a member of for a long time. Thanks to Obama policies, tides are turned. And Russia in the WTO will be the ultimate thaw!

What does this mean for Turkey, which is longing for other partners than the EU and the USA? There are not many left; China, India, the EU, USA, Russia, Indonesia, Mercasur countries…all are happy with the outcome of Turkey’s zero neighbor policies regarding the Arabs and one Persian country. And with Israel, they, Turkey, created an enemy which can act unpredictable. But Israel has the silent sympathy of most countries which are not ruled by and which interior is destroyed through despots and tyranny like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Pakistan etc.
Erdogan is maybe popular on some streets in the Arab world, he’s losing ground looking for help from the East e.g. Russia and China. And that he got moral support from a country as Pakistan, which lacks history, a soul, a national language and identity, only established because some Muslims didn’t wanted to be ruled by ‘non believers’ the Hindus, is worrisome.
Just buy Newsweek tomorrow...and make your own conclusion; Turkey wants to play chess while it doesn't know the rules of engagement, only of faith.

The Netherlands: the making of a new government (1)

The coalition talks between the pro-business liberal VVD, the anti-Islam Freedom Party and the Christian Democrats have failed before they even got started. The mediator Uri Rosenthal has informed Queen Beatrix that this combination seems impossible after Christian Democrat interim leader Maxime Verhagen refused several times to join the negotiations, until the other two parties had reached a general agreement on a number of issues. The Christen Democrats don't want to participate in a government with the PVV.
Its leader, Geert Wilders, gave yesterday the press his usual tirade of superlatives to voice his discontent. The Freedom Party leader, who describes Mr Verhagen’s behaviour as scandalous: “The Christian Democrats have just pulled out the plug.” A phrase that usually refers to a party after a cabinet has collapsed. Remarkably, he is wearing a purple tie, which in the Netherlands is the colour attributed to a cabinet without the Christian Democrats.
Mr Rosenthal is meeting the other party faction leaders today to hear their preferences. The Labour Party leader Cohen prefers the “purple plus” combination which includes the VVD, Labour Party, the democrat party D66 and the Green Left. While VVD leader Mark Rutte would prefer not to go quite so far to the left and wants a “national cabinet”, which includes his party with the Christian Democrats and the Labour Party. If he wants to meet his self-imposed deadline of 1 July, he’d better get his skates on. Ride on!

Day Opening - June 18

Paros, Greece