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08/19/2020

Last week in Turkey – Negotiations with Egypt, reactions against Joe Biden

Last week in Turkey – Negotiations with Egypt, reactions against Joe Biden

Last week, two issues have been at the top of the public agenda in Turkey:

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s announcement of negotiations with Egypt at the level of intelligence agencies, and US Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s statements about Turkish internal affairs.

TURKEY AND EGYPT ARE IN CONTACT

President Erdogan, during his speech to the press last Friday, said the following words when asked about the Greek-Egyptian maritime delimitation agreement in the Eastern Mediterranean:

“I find it difficult to understand Egypt. Egyptian side tells another story to my intelligence through their intelligence agency. They say there are misunderstandings, that we should correct those misunderstandings. Right now, our intelligence agencies are continuing to negotiate with their intelligence agency. Of course, the Turkish people’s view of the Egyptian people is totally different. The Egyptian people’s solidarity with the Greek people cannot be the same as it is with the Turkish people. Therefore, this understanding of our historical common values must be realized by its rulers before, it was realized by the Egyptian people. Some wrong steps are being taken by Saudi Arabia as well, in this process.”

Relations between Turkey and Egypt were disturbed after 2013 with the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Muhammad Morsi government and General Al-Sisi’s rise to power.

In the process, while both countries have mutually withdrawn their ambassadors, many bilateral agreements were also canceled.

Tensions between Turkey and Egypt have increased over Libya, even leading to the possibility of an open conflict.

After Egypt reached a maritime delimitation agreement with Greece violating the Turkish rights in the Eastern Mediterranean, harsh reactions followed.

However, President Erdogan’s statement that negotiations with Egypt are occuring, albeit at the level of intelligence agencies, was considered a clear message to the Cairo administration.

While the Egyptian sources said that Erdogan’s announcement of negotiations was welcomed in Cairo, they also shared the information that there was no reason for the dialogue not to accelerate, if some political steps were taken against pro-Muslim Brotherhood broadcasts in Turkey.

STRONG REACTION AGAINST JOE BIDEN

US Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s statements about the Turkish internal affairs, in a TV program prepared by the New York Times in December, have enraged Ankara.

In the scandalous video shared on social media, Biden made the following statements;

“What I think we should be doing is taking a very different approach to him now, making it clear that we support opposition leadership. Making it clear that we are in a position where we have a way which was working for a while to integrate the Kurdish population who wanted to participate in the process in their parliament, etc. Because we have to speak out about what we in fact think is wrong. He has to pay a price. He has to pay a price for whether or not we are going to continue to sell certain weapons to him. In fact, if he has the air defense system that they are flying F-15s through to see how they can try to figure out how to do it. 

So I am very concerned about it. I am very concerned about it. But I am still of the view that if we were to engage more directly like I was doing with them, that we can support those elements of the Turkish leadership that still exist and get more from them and embolden them to be able to take on and defeat Erdogan. Not by a coup, not by a coup, but by the electoral process. He got blown out. He got blown out in Istanbul, he got blown out in his party. So what do we do now? We just sat there, and yielded. And the last thing I would have done is yielded to him with regard to the Kurds. The absolute last thing. 

I had a couple of those meetings with him about the Kurds, and they did not clamp down at the time. We have to make it clear that if they are looking to, because, at the end of the day, Turkey does not want to have to rely on Russia. They have had a bite out of that apple a long time ago. But they gotta understand that we are not going to continue to play with them the way we have. So I am very concerned. I am very concerned. I am very concerned about our airfields and access to them as well. And I think it takes an awful lot of work for us to be able to get together with our allies in the region and deal with how we isolate his actions in the region, particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean in relating to oil and a whole range of other things which take too long to go into. But the answer is yes, I am worried.”

Responding to Biden’s remarks, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said: 

“When I look at Biden’s speech, I get upset. Why? I get upset when I look at the technical terms used by a major presidential candidate. It is against diplomatic technical terms. On the other hand, there are some serious mistakes. There is a lack of information. I mean, this is objective, whether we like it or not. For example, he used the wrong terminology referring to leadership. When he was the vice president for Obama, they always used the term elements because they always worked with the elements of terrorism.

It is unbelievable for him to call the elected Turkish government elements of government. On the other hand, they use the term ‘people of Kurdish origin’. There are some sentences that could be perceived as him saying “we the Kurds into parliament.” We fought the War of Independence with our Kurdish brothers. Our Kurdish brothers were also in the Constituent Assembly. So, who are you to say we made it possible for Kurds to enter parliament? They think of terrorists when they hear the word ‘Kurdish’. The terrorists are the YPG-PKK. Our Kurdish brothers will be at every branch of the state. But there is no room for terrorists in this country. We think that he is overstepping the limit on this issue. 

“We strongly reject such impositions. It is an ignorant statement, without actually knowing the Turkish nation. He is hinting at replacing President Erdogan not by a coup, but by backing the opposition. We can understand this… They tried a coup in the past and it did not happen. So now he wants to change tactics and methods.

“Only the Turkish nation – not someone from the US or any other country – can decide to change its government and president. After the July 15 coup attempt, he came to Ankara to apologize. Now we understand that he only shed some crocodile tears that day. We see that they are insincere.”

Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin, in his post on the social media, evaluated the analysis as “based on pure ignorance, arrogance and hypocrisy”.

AKP Spokesman Omer Celik also said on a live broadcast that “Everyone needs to know this. we are a nation determined to protect our democracy with our lives, as we also showed it on the July 15 coup attempt. Any manipulation/intervention from foreign governments will never be accepted by our nation.”

Opposition parties have also reacted to Biden’s statement.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition party CHP, criticized Biden as well as the government’s late response; “First, we have to ask this question. While this statement was made 7 months ago, who was the President of this country? Who was sitting in this country’s governmental palace, who was the foreign minister of this country? They have not reacted for an entire seven months, so why are they only reacting now? We, the CHP, come from a tradition that is fighting for the independence of this country. We do not even accept the shadow of any imperialist power. Because independence is our character.”

MHP Leader Devlet Bahceli also commented on Biden’s words, saying: “It has been proven who is behind the coups, interference, crises, terrorist acts, and anti-democracy efforts. This individuals’ aggression on the existence of the Republic of Turkey, its sovereignty rights, and the will of its people, will be considered as a hostile attitude.”

The Vatan Party also made a statement, saying: “We will turn your American dream into a nightmare.”

LAST WEEK IN TURKEY: NEGOTIATIONS WITH EGYPT, REACTIONS AGAINST JOE BIDEN

Last week, two issues have been at the top of the public agenda in Turkey;

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s announcement of negotiations with Egypt at the level of intelligence agencies, and US Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s statements about Turkish internal affairs.

TURKEY AND EGYPT ARE IN CONTACT

President Erdogan, during his speech to the press last Friday, said the following words when asked about the Greek-Egyptian maritime delimitation agreement in the Eastern Mediterranean:

“I find it difficult to understand Egypt. Egyptian side tells another story to my intelligence through their intelligence agency. They say there are misunderstandings, that we should correct those misunderstandings. Right now, our intelligence agencies are continuing to negotiate with their intelligence agency. Of course, the Turkish people’s view of the Egyptian people is totally different. The Egyptian people’s solidarity with the Greek people cannot be the same as it is with the Turkish people. Therefore, this understanding of our historical common values must be realized by its rulers before, it was realized by the Egyptian people. Some wrong steps are being taken by Saudi Arabia as well, in this process.”

Relations between Turkey and Egypt were disturbed after 2013 with the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Muhammad Morsi government and General Al-Sisi’s rise to power.

In the process, while both countries have mutually withdrawn their ambassadors, many bilateral agreements were also canceled.

Tensions between Turkey and Egypt have increased over Libya, even leading to the possibility of an open conflict.

After Egypt reached a maritime delimitation agreement with Greece violating the Turkish rights in the Eastern Mediterranean, harsh reactions followed.

However, President Erdogan’s statement that negotiations with Egypt are occuring, albeit at the level of intelligence agencies, was considered a clear message to the Cairo administration.

While the Egyptian sources said that Erdogan’s announcement of negotiations was welcomed in Cairo, they also shared the information that there was no reason for the dialogue not to accelerate, if some political steps were taken against pro-Muslim Brotherhood broadcasts in Turkey.

STRONG REACTION AGAINST JOE BIDEN

US Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s statements about the Turkish internal affairs, in a TV program prepared by the New York Times in December, have enraged Ankara.

In the scandalous video shared on social media, Biden made the following statements;

“What I think we should be doing is taking a very different approach to him now, making it clear that we support opposition leadership. Making it clear that we are in a position where we have a way which was working for a while to integrate the Kurdish population who wanted to participate in the process in their parliament, etc. Because we have to speak out about what we in fact think is wrong. He has to pay a price. He has to pay a price for whether or not we are going to continue to sell certain weapons to him. In fact, if he has the air defense system that they are flying F-15s through to see how they can try to figure out how to do it. 

So I am very concerned about it. I am very concerned about it. But I am still of the view that if we were to engage more directly like I was doing with them, that we can support those elements of the Turkish leadership that still exist and get more from them and embolden them to be able to take on and defeat Erdogan. Not by a coup, not by a coup, but by the electoral process. He got blown out. He got blown out in Istanbul, he got blown out in his party. So what do we do now? We just sat there, and yielded. And the last thing I would have done is yielded to him with regard to the Kurds. The absolute last thing. 

I had a couple of those meetings with him about the Kurds, and they did not clamp down at the time. We have to make it clear that if they are looking to, because, at the end of the day, Turkey does not want to have to rely on Russia. They have had a bite out of that apple a long time ago. But they gotta understand that we are not going to continue to play with them the way we have. So I am very concerned. I am very concerned. I am very concerned about our airfields and access to them as well. And I think it takes an awful lot of work for us to be able to get together with our allies in the region and deal with how we isolate his actions in the region, particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean in relating to oil and a whole range of other things which take too long to go into. But the answer is yes, I am worried.”

Responding to Biden’s remarks, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said: 

“When I look at Biden’s speech, I get upset. Why? I get upset when I look at the technical terms used by a major presidential candidate. It is against diplomatic technical terms. On the other hand, there are some serious mistakes. There is a lack of information. I mean, this is objective, whether we like it or not. For example, he used the wrong terminology referring to leadership. When he was the vice president for Obama, they always used the term elements because they always worked with the elements of terrorism.

It is unbelievable for him to call the elected Turkish government elements of government. On the other hand, they use the term ‘people of Kurdish origin’. There are some sentences that could be perceived as him saying “we the Kurds into parliament.” We fought the War of Independence with our Kurdish brothers. Our Kurdish brothers were also in the Constituent Assembly. So, who are you to say we made it possible for Kurds to enter parliament? They think of terrorists when they hear the word ‘Kurdish’. The terrorists are the YPG-PKK. Our Kurdish brothers will be at every branch of the state. But there is no room for terrorists in this country. We think that he is overstepping the limit on this issue. 

“We strongly reject such impositions. It is an ignorant statement, without actually knowing the Turkish nation. He is hinting at replacing President Erdogan not by a coup, but by backing the opposition. We can understand this… They tried a coup in the past and it did not happen. So now he wants to change tactics and methods.

“Only the Turkish nation – not someone from the US or any other country – can decide to change its government and president. After the July 15 coup attempt, he came to Ankara to apologize. Now we understand that he only shed some crocodile tears that day. We see that they are insincere.”

Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin, in his post on the social media, evaluated the analysis as “based on pure ignorance, arrogance and hypocrisy”.

AKP Spokesman Omer Celik also said on a live broadcast that “Everyone needs to know this. we are a nation determined to protect our democracy with our lives, as we also showed it on the July 15 coup attempt. Any manipulation/intervention from foreign governments will never be accepted by our nation.”

Opposition parties have also reacted to Biden’s statement.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition party CHP, criticized Biden as well as the government’s late response; “First, we have to ask this question. While this statement was made 7 months ago, who was the President of this country? Who was sitting in this country’s governmental palace, who was the foreign minister of this country? They have not reacted for an entire seven months, so why are they only reacting now? We, the CHP, come from a tradition that is fighting for the independence of this country. We do not even accept the shadow of any imperialist power. Because independence is our character.”

MHP Leader Devlet Bahceli also commented on Biden’s words, saying: “It has been proven who is behind the coups, interference, crises, terrorist acts, and anti-democracy efforts. This individuals’ aggression on the existence of the Republic of Turkey, its sovereignty rights, and the will of its people, will be considered as a hostile attitude.”

The Vatan Party also made a statement, saying: “We will turn your American dream into a nightmare.”

 
United World International

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