Thursday, 11 August 2016

Stephen Cohen on Putin-Erdogan meeting

Trump’s Russia Policy Denounced. Russia’s Turkey Policy Announced. Paralympics Bans Russia

Stephen F. Cohen, NYU, Princeton University.

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Trump’s Russia Policy Denounced. Russia’s Turkey Policy Announced. Paralympics Bans Russia. Stephen F. Cohen, NYU, Princeton University.

“…In Europe, the Erdogan-Putin rapprochement has been seen as an attempt by the Turkish leader to demonstrate that Russia can be an alternative to the European Union, which has been critical of his handling of the coup aftermath.

In the long term, however, their interests don’t converge at all, especially on Syria, but also on economy and energy,” said one senior EU official. “That’s why it’s important we keep our channels to Ankara open.”

A second EU official described Mr. Erdogan’s visit to Moscow as a “demonstration of power that seems more than it is.” Officials said that three-quarters of the foreign direct investment in Turkey comes from EU countries.
EU-Turkey relations have soured over the past weeks, since Mr. Erdogan’s crackdown and call to introduce the death penalty, a move that would halt Turkey’s EU membership bid.

On Monday, Mr. Erdogan took to French newspaper Le Monde to denounce what he described as an “unacceptable” reaction by European leaders to the coup attempt, as opposed to Mr. Putin, who didn’t criticize him for cracking down on dissidents and coup plotters.

The Turkish leader also threatened to scrap a migration deal with the EU—which lets the EU return migrants who have crossed illegally to Europe from Turkish shores—if Turkish citizens aren’t granted visa-free travel to the European bloc. That prospect that is on hold as long as Turkey’s antiterror laws allow it to keep peaceful government critics behind bars on terrorism charges….”

Sochi was corrupted,” he continued, referring to the Russian city that hosted the 2014 Winter Games. “Russia had state-sponsored doping, and the International Olympic Committee caved in, unlike the International Paralympic Committee.”

The I.O.C. did not apply a blanket ban on Russian athletes for the Rio Games after the release of a damning report by the World Anti-Doping Agency; the Paralympic committee did bar the Russians from this year’s Paralympics, which begin next month.

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