Category Archives: Eastern Mediterranean// Méditerranée de l’Est

The right of protest in Turkey


One think is sure! After the “coup d’état” in 2015, the Don Quixote imaginary Neo-Sultan of the New Ottoman Empire, Mr Erdogan seized all powers in his hand and made the army of the country his puppet.

People cannot protest peacefully in the country anymore. Even the LGBT gay pride was not authorized and people got arrested.

Historically, In 1858 the Ottoman Empire—the predecessor of the modern-day Republic of Turkey— adopted a new penal code, which no longer contained any explicit articles criminalizing homosexuality. The Ottoman Penal Code of 1858 was heavily influenced by the Napoleonic Code, as part of wider reforms during the Tanzimat period. LGBT people have had the right to seek asylum in Turkey under the Geneva Convention since 1951, but same-sex couples are not given the same legal protections available to heterosexual couples. Transgender people have been allowed to change their legal gender since 1988. Although discrimination protections regarding sexual orientation and gender identity or expression have been debated legally, they have not yet been legislated.

In response to the recent crackdown on the Istanbul Pride Parade, Freedom House issues the following statement:

“The continuing assault on LGBT+ people in Turkey was on full display with the use of tear gas and rubber bullets to prevent the Istanbul Pride March,” said Marc Behrendt, director of Europe and Eurasia programs at Freedom House. “This latest crackdown is part of a larger effort to roll back LGBT+ and women’s rights in Turkey, which also includes the withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention and the prosecution of Boğaziçi University students for holding rainbow flags. The government must stop the continuing assault on LGBT+ communities and guarantee fundamental rights protections of all people in Turkey.”

On June 26th, police used tear gas and fired rubber bullets to disperse the annual pride parade in Istanbul. At least 20 people, including Agence France-Presse (AFP) photographer Bülent Kılıç, were detained by the authorities. Kılıç was violently arrested, with police breaking his camera and pressing on his neck. AFP denounced Kılıç’s treatment, while Kılıç himself has filed a complaint against the police. The Istanbul pride parade has been banned since 2014, though participants have consistently marched in defiance of that ban. Four days before this year’s march, police forcefully dispersed a pride-week picnic in the city, detaining at least one person.

The crackdown on the Turkish LGBT+ community has intensified since Boğaziçi University students began protesting the appointment of Melih Bulu, an ally of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as rector in January. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu later called student protesters “LGBT deviants,” after protesters disseminated a photograph that included Islamic and LGBT+ imagery. Twelve people who were detained in March after carrying a rainbow flag at a protest, meanwhile, faced their second judicial hearing earlier today.

In May, the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europeranked Turkey the second-worst country in Europe for LGBT+ rights. On June 17th, Council of Europe (CoE) human rights commissioner Dunja Mijatović called on the Turkish government to respect the rights of LGBT+ people to assemble, criticizing the banning of pride marches and noting a “visible rise in hateful rhetoric and the propagation of homophobic narratives” by Turkish politicians and officials.

Turkey is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2021 and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2020.

Analyzing The facts

However, at the same time, during the parade protest much worse things happened in the back streets of Istanbul, Taksim Istiklal Street (where the walk is intended). This district is called Cihangir.

Police forces attacked people sitting in cafes in Cihangir. People they were sitting there, some of them were unmasked as an excuse given by the police to attack them. We understand this from their speeches in the videos. Nonetheless, the police forces obviously intercepted any person whose appearance seemed “marginal” given the potential to participate in this parade, and then, they found the excuse to attack them. And when the customers of the cafes objected, they were arrested by the police force. Here is a twitter link:

The police forces , at that moment, lost its temper and even took their phone from someone’s hand, then most likely they deleted the footage. The police has the right from now on to do so as on April 30, 2021, the Turkish General Directorate of Security issued a circular stating that “it was decided to prevent people who recorded the images or voices of the police during the protests and to take legal action against them”.

“Controversial Circular from the Police: Recording images is now prohibited”
https://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/emniyetten-tartisma-yaratacak-genelge-goruntu-kaydetmek-artik-yasak-1832275

“In the circular in question, it was argued that sharing the audio and video recordings of the police officers and civilians on social media “violates the privacy of private life”, while it was argued that receiving audio and video also prevented them from doing their duty.”

Already since the 15 July 2016 FETO coup attempt, Turkey has been governed mostly by the decrees of Tayyip Erdoğan and the circulars of such public institutions.

Here another video: https://twitter.com/tugbaaozerr/status/1408820117123780608

In this video, the young man walking to the side of the police bus says that he is a lawyer and that what they are doing is illegal, almost begging. But the female cop almost glues him to the vehicle. At the end of the video, a young woman protests and says there is abuse here. The police says there is not any abuse.

But beyond all that, there is something much more interesting in this short video. At the beginning of the video, it is seen that male and female policemen are waiting in line. And all of the female cops on line are not wearing headscarves. However, three of the three female police officers heading towards the bus and detained the young woman are wearing headscarves.

After the 2016 FETO coup attempt in Turkey, the recruitment of headscarved women into the army and police forces was enacted by the AKP government.

This was not legal in Turkey before in the kemalist period . And with the democratization approval period of accessing to the European Union, it became law to admit women without headscarves to the public institutions of Turkey.

Wearing a headscarf or not has no meaning for the West. But it does for Turkey. Since its establishment, it has applied a principle of secularism in that way. In other words, headscarved women, or men with fez or turban, or any religious symbol of any religion could not wear any official clothing in public until the last 5 years. 

Why was this implemented? Turkey is a predominantly Sunni Muslim country. In the years it was founded, the literacy rate was around 12%. And it would not be wrong to say that the imams of mosques, which were in almost every neighborhood, were more involved in people’s lives and influenced the public. We know this from some imams who cooperated with the British during the War of Independence of Turkey, 1919-1923. And with the collapsing of the Ottoman sultanate, the loss of the caliphate and the fear of losing the power of some of the imams made them cooperate with those who invaded their country. And they did this not only on the basis of religion, but also on ethnic identity. The most important thing to do in this situation should have been to implement laws in order to prevent this. As stated in the second of the first three unalterable articles of the Turkish constitution, “The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular and social state of law.”

For this reason, all kinds of religious symbols were removed from the public domain. Because if even one of them were allowed, it would have been against the principle of secularism, and the already overwhelming influence of the Sunni Muslim majority in the country would increase. 


However, the Western world pointed this law against free expression and life, by presenting Atatürk as a dictator, anything that is contrary to the founding principles of Turkey, and in a sense, contrary to the Republic of Turkey founded by Atatürk. According to our information and as most West politicians having influence at that time stated, they supported Tayyip Erdogan from the very beginning, supposedly saying in their own minds, “Yes, Atatürk was a dictator, but he was not our dictator, we need a dictator in our own hands”. Even if the EU says they do not support him sometimes, we can say that they use this just as a rhetoric, as EU countries have never come into conflict with the government of Tayyip Erdogan because it will influence the trade negatively. 

It is obvious what kind of result a country like Turkey has had with the so-called democratization pressure on Turkey’s founding laws, by putting aside its internal dynamics, history and culture. Just like what happened in Cihangir last week. 

If we go back to the video, it is a complete FETO tactic, especially if these three women wearing headscarves were given the task of detaining the young woman and acting while having in mind that these images will become widespread. FETO, too, had done its best to stir up every internal dynamic in Turkey and to materialize this.

Tayyip Erdogan and his government are aware of the bad situation of the country economically and socially. And it is very clear that they are thinking of creating an environment where they can put more pressure and increase the discomfort in the country by showing some dynamics dividing the society to “secular and non-secular” .

Isn’t that strange that Tayyip Erdogan his relatives and supporters behave in the same way with the FETO line tactics are still being applied while they are stating that they are against FETO movement?

Here the 3rd video: https://twitter.com/t24comtr/status/1408849571414003716

“The citizen, who reacted to the sound bomb thrown by the police at the Pride Parade, saying “The child is sleeping”, was detained by the police.

And as the police chief instructions orders “Go upstairs and take him!” that citizen on the balcony has been taken into custody also. 


Of course, this police violence was not limited to those who participated in the LTGB pride parade, the ones sitting in the coffee shops in the back streets of Istiklal road, journalists should not be forgotten. The press freedom reports regarding Turkey already are not heart-warming :

“Report: Turkey ranks second after China in the number of journalists imprisoned this year”https://tr.euronews.com/2020/12/15/rapor-turkiye-cin-den-sonra-bu-y-l-en-fazla-hapsedilen-gazeteci-say-s-nda-ikinci-s-rada

The report states that as of December 1, 2020, 274 journalists were still held in prison in the world, while China (47), Turkey (37) and Egypt (27) were among the top three in this list.”

Bulent Kılıc, photojournalist for the French news agency AFP, who was detained with the harsh intervention of the police during the 19th Pride Parade in Taksim, Istanbul, was one of these journalists.

https://twitter.com/A3Haber/status/1408789501800034308


“The reporter who followed the Pride Parade was detained after being suffocated by his throat.”

Kılıc, who shared on his Twitter account, used the following statements:


https://twitter.com/Kilicbil/status/1408898398309257217


“I was intended to be killed, I was intended to be left breathless. I will hold accountable for whoever did this to me, in the Constitutional Court, European Human Rights, whatever, whatever court in this world, it will be held accountable in court as long as I live. It will not be left for the Supreme Court.”

These are some of the photos in LTGB pride by Bulent Kılıç took before he was taken into custody


https://twitter.com/yasinnakgul/status/1408901737059082257

This is what happened in Turkey in just a day or even a few hours. It is obvious that the censorship applied in Turkey is one of the worst during nowadays and this kind of dictatorial pressure must end soon in the country.

erdogan rainbow flag
A Photo of “Neo Sultan Erdogan” draped in LGBT and make-up since he hates LGBT 🙂

Sources:

Freedom House : Turkey: Authorities Violently Disperse Pride Event

 Ishtiaq Hussain (15 February 2011). “The Tanzimat: Secular Reforms in the Ottoman Empire” (PDF). Faith Matters. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 October 2016. Retrieved 5 December 2014.

Wikipedia: LGBT rights in Turkey

See report of Kaos GL: Turkey’s LGBT History: The 1990sArchived 24 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 16 October 2009.

6th İzmir Pride Parade: ‘We’ll Walk Up to Fear'”. bianet.org. Retrieved 12 June 2018.

The Economic Outlook of Turkey in June 2021


From humble beginnings Recep Tayyip Erdogan has grown into a political giant, reshaping Turkey more than any leader since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the revered father of the modern republic.

But in recent years the economy has deteriorated. Inflation is nearly 12% and the Turkish lira has slumped against the dollar. Coronavirus is exacerbating Turkey’s economic woes.

When he became Turkish leader back in March 2003 the lira rate was 1.6 to the dollar – now it is above 8.0. His early years in power were marked by solid growth and a development boom.

1: Turkish Lira Exchange Rate to US Dollar, Source: XE

The World Bank on April estimated that Turkey’s poverty rate rose to 12.2% last year, from 10.2% in 2019, and said returning to pre-pandemic levels would be a challenge. The World Bank also states that Turkey’s economic and social development performance since the early 2000s has been impressive, leading to increased employment and incomes and making Turkey an upper-middle-income country. However, in the past few years, growing economic vulnerabilities and a more challenging external environment have threatened to undermine those achievements. 

The World Bank said the impact of the pandemic would be a “struggle to shake off” globally but that Turkey’s economy is expected to grow 5% this year due a recovery in exports.

It warned that rising inflation in advanced economies could lead to “destabilising movements in global liquidity away from emerging markets” and added that growth prospects could also be hit by a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

Analysis

For most of the period since 2000, Turkey has maintained a long-term focus on implementing ambitious reforms in many areas, and government programs have targeted vulnerable groups and disadvantaged regions. Poverty incidence more than halved over 2002–15, and extreme poverty fell even faster. 

During this time, Turkey rapidly urbanized, maintained strong macroeconomic and fiscal policy frameworks, opened to foreign trade and finance, harmonized many laws and regulations with European Union (EU) standards, and greatly expanded access to public services. It also recovered well from the global financial crisis of 2008/09.

The Turkish economy was one of few globally to expand in 2020 despite coronavirus fallout, thanks largely to a credit boom around mid-year.

Overall inflation was around 12% – and near 20% for food – for much of last year before climbing. Tourism revenue sharply declined and exports fell, leading to a large current account deficit.

The government in response topped up employee wages and banned layoffs, keeping a lid on the unemployment rate.

The recent Turkish crisis, started in 2018, was caused by the Turkish economy’s excessive current account deficit and large amounts of private foreign-currency denominated debt, in combination with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s increasing authoritarianism and his unorthodox ideas about interest rate policy.  Some analysts also stress the leveraging effects of the geopolitical frictions with the United States and recently enforced tariffs by the Trump administration on some Turkish products such as steel and aluminum.

The Turkish lira keeps to fall when comparing to the dollar and euro (as strong currencies) and has come under more pressure in recent weeks, in a continuing crisis that started in 2018, as investors try to assess whether the country’s central bank will heed the demands of its president to cut interest rates. But a rate cut could drag the lira down further at the same time that the country’s high inflation rate is already diminishing the currency’s buying power.

The overall macroeconomic picture is more vulnerable and uncertain, given rising inflation and unemployment, contracting investment, elevated corporate and financial sector vulnerabilities, and patchy implementation of corrective policy actions and reforms. There are also significant external headwinds due to ongoing geopolitical tensions in the subregion. 

COVID has deepened gender gaps and increased youth unemployment and the poverty rate. The risk of inequalities has also been increasing. The COVID-19 crisis is expected to have severely negative consequences for Turkey, further weakening economic and social gains.

There is an “exchange rate illusion” in Turkey’s economic growth data, according to Enver Erkan, chief economist at Istanbul-based Tera Yatirim, who’s ranked by Bloomberg as the most accurate forecaster on Turkish GDP data.

Noting that the GDP per capita in U.S. dollar terms dropped nearly 40% since 2013 to around $7,700 last year, Erkan said Turkey’s recent economic model isn’t sustainable as the growth is mainly driven by consumption supported by government spending and loan campaigns.

A stronger dollar would also add further pressure to the Turkish lira. Turkey’s currency hit a record low on June 4, when it fell to 8.7532 lira to the U.S. dollar, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for lower interest rates by July or August. That has left investors to assess whether the country’s central bank will heed Mr. Erdogan’s demands.

Mr. Erdogan has fired three central bank chiefs in less than two years, and he prefers low rates as a part of a strategy to encourage growth. His reluctance to have higher interest rates could mean that investors’ returns are eroded. A recent rise in the cost of oil past $70 a barrel is also likely to boost inflation in Turkey.

Turkey’s consumer price inflation eased to 16.59 percent year-on-year in May 2021, from a near two-year high of 17.14 percent in the previous month and below market expectations of 17.25 percent. Still, the rate remined well above the central bank’s medium-term 5 percent target, with upward pressure coming from food and non-alcoholic beverages (17.04 percent vs 16.98 percent in April), transport (28.39 percent vs 29.31 percent), housing and utilities (14.08 percent vs 13.60 percent), furnishings, household equipment and routine maintenance (21.79 percent vs 22.27 percent), hotels, cafes and restaurants (17.73 percent vs 16.81 percent), clothing and footwear (5.75 percent vs 11.03 percent), and miscellaneous goods and services (17.92 percent vs 18.27 percent). The core consumer price inflation rate, which excludes volatile items such as energy, food and non-alcoholic beverages, alcoholic beverages, tobacco and gold, slowed to 16.99 percent in May from 17.77 percent in April.

2. Turkish Inflation Rate, Source: Trading Economics

Turkey’s Industrial Output

3.Turkey’s Industrial Output in March 2021

Turkey grew faster than all Group of 20 nations except for China in the first quarter after nearly stalling a year ago when Covid-19 struck. It’s been bolstered by robust consumption on the back of last year’s government-led push to cut interest rates and boost lending.

Gross domestic product rose 7% from a year earlier and 1.7% from the fourth quarter. The median of 22 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey was for 6.3% growth compared to the same period in 2020.

“This comes at the expense of lira and price stability,” he said.

The government pushed banks to ramp up lending to help businesses and consumers ride out last year’s Covid-19 emergency. The credit boom was coupled with a front-loaded easing cycle that helped prime the economy. That growth push weakened the currency by 20% last year and kept headline inflation in double digits. The size of the economy dropped to $717 billion last year from $760.8 billion a year earlier.

  • Automotive Industry

Turkey’s automotive production, including light commercial vehicles, tractors, and automobiles, amounted to 532,441 million units in January-May, a sectoral report revealed on Monday.

The sector posted a strong recovery with a 28.2% increase year-on-year in the January-May period, after dramatic falls last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic measures.

Last year, the automotive production narrowed by 11% versus 2019 and decreased by 34% year-on-year in the first five months.

While the sector surpassed 2020 figures, it could not reach 2018 and 2019 figures yet, when the production was 712,022 and 625,946 units, respectively.

4. Turkey’s economy Outperforming in first quarter of 2021, Source : Bloomberg
  • Exports

According to the country’s Trade Minister ,Turkey’s foreign sales powered ahead as exporters achieved their second-best May ever.

Exports surged 65.5% year-on-year to reach $16.6 billion (TL 142.48 billion) last month, Muş told a news conference in the capital Ankara.

Sales were up from nearly $10 billion a year ago, battered by the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic that had temporarily shut borders.

They increased despite the strictest lockdown yet that covered part of May. Turkey remains a big trade power in the world as its trade continues rising.

Turkey shipped US$169.5 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2020. That dollar amount reflects an 18.8% increase since 2016 but a -0.9% drop from 2019 to 2020. That figure also represents roughly 0.9% of overall global exports estimated at $18.709 trillion one year earlier during 2019 (calculated as of February 17, 2020).

Applying a continental lens, 55.7% of Turkey’s exports by value were delivered to European countries while 26% were sold to Asian importers. Turkey shipped another 9% worth of goods to Africa. Smaller percentages went to North America (6.9%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1.7%) then Oceania led by Australia, Marshall Islands and New Zealand (0.7%).

5.Turkey’s Trade with the European Union, Source: EUROSTAT
6.Turkey among the world’s largest traders of goods, 2019, Source: Eurostat
7. Turkey’s Top Trade Partners, 2019 , Source: Eurostat
8. Turkey among the EU’s main partners for trade in goods, 2020, Source : Eurostat
9. EU trade with Turkey by product group, 2010 and 2020, Source Eurostat

The breakdown of EU trade with Turkey by SITC groups is shown in Figure 6. The red shades denote the primary products: food & drink, raw materials and energy, while the blue shades show the manufactured goods: chemicals, machinery & vehicles and other manufactured goods. Finally, other goods are shown in green. In 2020, EU exports of manufactured goods (84 %) had a higher share than primary goods (12 %). The most exported manufactured goods were machinery & vehicles (44 %), followed by other manufactured products (22 %) and chemicals (18 %). In 2020, EU imports of manufactured goods (87 %) also had a higher share than primary goods (12 %). The most imported manufactured goods were other manufactured products (43 %), followed by machinery & vehicles (39 %) and chemicals (6 %).

10. EU trade with Turkey by group, 2010-2020, Source: Eurostat
11. EU imports of goods from Turkey, 2020 Source Eurostat
12. EU exports of goods to Turkey, 2020, Source: Eurostat

Sources:

1; The Wall Street Journal: Turkey’s Troubles Point to Emerging-Market Risks as Economies Recover, Accessed: 19th of June 2021

2. World Bank. Country : Turkey : Overview. Accessed : 19th of June, 2021

3. Wikipedia: Turkish Currency and Debt Crisis, Accessed : 19th of June, 2021

4. Bloomberg: Turkish Economy Likely Outperformed Most Peers But at a Cost, Accessed : 19th of June, 2021  

5. Borzou Daragahi (25 May 2018). “Erdogan Is Failing Economics 101”. Foreign Policy.

6.“Inflation rise poses challenge to Erdogan as election looms”Financial Times. 5 June 2018.

7.  Matt O’Brien (13 July 2018). “Turkey’s economy looks like it’s headed for a big crash”Washington Post.

8. “Turkey’s Lessons for Emerging Economies – Caixin Global”http://www.caixinglobal.com. Retrieved 20 August 2018.

9. Goujon, Reva (16 August 2018). “Making Sense of Turkey’s Economic Crisis”Stratfor. Archived from the original on 16 August 2018.

Le parti politique au pouvoir à la République de Chypre est en train de nier la réalité après l’échec des pourparlers à Genève sur l’avenir de l’île divisée


Préambule: Les négociations sur la sempiternelle question de Chypre restent dans l’impasse. Au terme de trois jours de réunion à Genève en Suisse ayant lieu en Avril 2021, les dirigeants chypriotes grecs et turcs n’ont pas réussi à trouver de terrain d’entente sur le statut de l’île divisée depuis 1974. Le chef de l’ONU a lui-même conduit les pourparlers informels. Il a reconnu cet échec tout en appelant à reprendre les discussions d’ici deux ou trois mois.

Au cours des négociations à Genève, tous les espoirs d’une solution basée sur les paramètres convenus (qui ont été construits principalement grâce aux concessions de la partie grecque) ont été brisés, visant de construire un État fonctionnel dans les années à venir au sein de l’Union Européenne.

Plus précisément, la politique de repli s’est avérée être une politique de misère et d’accumulation d’échecs sans qu’un accord apportant une solution mutuellement acceptable n’ait pu être trouvée. Les politiciens qui ont insisté pendant des années sur le fait que “grâce aux pourparlers, nous allons sortir gagnants et que si la Turquie présente des propositions inacceptables, cette dernière, sera tenue responsable par l’ONU”, préfèrent adopter le silence comme une réponse.

Le pire de tout, c’est qu’ils refusent encore d’admettre la nouvelle réalité. Ainsi, ils sont obligés de s’attendre à la bonne attitude du régime « islamo-fasciste » qui est au pouvoir en Turquie et de son représentant dans les territoires occupés par la Turquie … à qui on doit faire des nouvelles concessions pour « coincer » ainsi la Turquie, selon cette logique.

Cependant, en niant le fiasco d’échec des négociations, ils sont en désaccord avec le constat de la grande majorité des citoyens. Parmi ces négateurs de la réalité, on trouve des politiciens «recrutés» par l’ancienne et de la nouvelle génération qui ont adopté la politique de la misère (ils ont trahi leurs promesses et leurs électeurs en appauvrissant la société au profit d’une petite caste corrompue ) et des concessions qui nous a amené à un pas avant d’adopter la «solution» proposée par la Turquie avec laquelle même une grande partie des Turcs-Chypriotes est en désaccord.

Un exemple typique de ce mode opératoire, est le chef du parti au pouvoir, qui a « cloué la République de Chypre sur son dos », insistant pendant lés négociations pour que nous acceptions l’égalité politique avec les Chypriotes turcs, alors que cela a été convenu depuis 1991 sur la base de spécifications, pour arriver à une solution totale du problème chypriote, comme cette dernière a été prescrite par l’ONU et non par les prétentions de la Turquie.

La résolution spécifique du Conseil de Sécurité de l’ONU, qui n’est actuellement qu’un prétexte des Turcs pour revendiquer l’ « égalité politique » ayant comme but ultime la « coopération entre les deux États » est apparue être le gros problème car celle-là doit être mise en place dans un contexte global d’une solution au problème de la question chypriote. En même temps, les autres décisions et résolutions du Conseil de sécurité et de l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies appelant au retrait des troupes turques et au retour des réfugiés dans leurs foyers dans des conditions de sécurité, ont disparu.

Ainsi, la Turquie a obtenu un «avantage» à Genève, faisant de la question chypriote un problème de coexistence des deux communautés et non pas principalement « un problème d’occupation et de colonisation illégales » au sein d’un État membre de l’Union Européenne.

Dans les semaines à venir, les Britanniques et les Turcs vont essayer de constituer un « point de rencontre » qui trouvera bien sûr une réponse positive de la part des politiciens de la misère à Chypre pour commencer à vendre leur nouveau point de vue sur la question chypriote. Les politiciens de la misère refusent de se rendre compte que leur politique qui vise à faire davantage pression et exercer davantage de contraintes sur le peuple chypriote afin qu’ils fassent de nouvelles concessions permet à la Turquie de demander constamment plus.

Il est temps pour les citoyens d’agir ! Soit nous acceptons le résultat de la politique de misère avec une “solution de partenariat à deux États” basée sur la rhétorique turque ayant un contenu déguisé qui vise à éliminer la République de Chypre pour rendre la Turquie souveraine à Chypre, soit nous procédons à une politique anti-occupation rationnelle pour constituer un état fonctionnel au sein de l’UE, avec un respect d’alignement sur l’acquis communautaire pour tous les citoyens de la République de Chypre. La légalisation de l’occupation et de la colonisation sera le début d’un nouveau problème chypriote, celui qui va mettre les Chypriotes grecs et turcs dans une voie d’élimination.

Par M. Costas Mavrides. M. Mavrides est député européen chypriote au sein de la famille de l’‘Alliance progressiste des socialistes et démocrates au Parlement européen (S&D) . Il est également Président de la Commission Politique pour la Méditerranée. costas.mavrides@europarl.europa.eu

How Political Corruption Weakens Democracy and Economic Growth in Cyprus and Malta


Today, the European Union has to take the role to protect and preserve democracy while authoritarianism is felt everyday by the state during the Covid-19 flu and in a lot of cases measures are unjustified. The COVID-19 crisis has offered corrupt and authoritarian leaders a dangerous combination of public distraction and reduced oversight.

This new authoritarianism made more obvious the problem of corruption in some weak democracies. To analyze the corruption problem and how it can destroy all the country’s system i’m taking as an example two small countries in the European bloc, Cyprus and Malta where the implications of corruption and political clientelism in these two countries is obvious in all country’s structures and has already done a lot of damage.

The two countries used to issue “Golden Passports” during the previous years, something that skyrocketed the rent prices while salaries remained very low. Corruption weakens democracy to produce a vicious cycle, where corruption undermines democratic institutions and, in turn, weak institutions are less able to control corruption

Why High Corruption Index hurts Democracy

The term corruption is defined as the misuse of public office for private gains which costs every country a large amount of financial, political and social resources every year. Research on the causes, consequences and combat strategies of corruption are manifold and very revealing. Worldwide studies indicate, for example, that well-established democracies show lower levels of corruption than authoritarian regimes or young democracies . At the same time, high levels of corruption undermine democracy. By diverting rare resources from disadvantaged people, it damages the rule of law, social justice and lowers the trust of citizens in political institutions and processes.

Economies that are afflicted by a high level of corruption, which involves the misuse of power in the form of money or authority to achieve certain goals in illegal, dishonest, or unfair ways, are not capable of prospering as fully as those with a low level of corruption. Corrupted economies are not able to function properly because corruption prevents the natural laws of the economy from functioning freely. As a result, corruption in a nation’s political and economic operations causes its entire society to suffer.

Political competitors in younger democracies have had less chance to develop policy reputations with voters and their political parties are likely to be less well-established as vehicles for conveying credible
policy stances. As a consequence, they should be more susceptible to reliance on patrons as a means to establish credible bonds with voters. This implies that the policy choices of young democracies should resemble most closely those predicted by the foregoing arguments: lower levels of public good provision, high levels of private, targeted goods, and high rent-seeking. More systematic empirical evidence comes to support this claim.

Looking now at the profiles of Ministers and politicians, in these two countries, we can take as common measures the rent-seeking tendencies, measures of bureaucratic quality, the rule of law, secondary school enrollment and government ownership of newspapers. The misuse of these measures affect directly the democratic system and there are disadvantages for the middle class and the poor.

Studies tend to conclude that political competitors in young democracies are less credible, more reliant on patrons, and more likely to focus public policy on transfers and rent-seeking than broad public good provision finds substantial implicit support in the case study literature. Various contributors in Malloy and Seligson (1987), looking at countries experiencing the transition from authoritarian to democratic government, repeatedly note the reliance of new political competitors on narrow benefits to targeted constituencies.

Corruption can lead to an uneven distribution of wealth as small businesses face unfair competition from large companies that have established illegal connections with government officials. In a corrupt economy, resources are inefficiently allocated and companies that otherwise would not be qualified to win government contracts are often awarded projects as a result of bribery or kickbacks. Moreover, the quality of education and healthcare also deteriorates under a corrupt economy, leading to an overall lower standard of living for the country’s citizens.

Uneven Distribution of Wealth

Corrupted economies are characterized by a disproportionately small middle class and significant divergence between the living standards of the upper class and lower class. Because most of the country’s capital is aggregated in the hands of oligarchs or persons who back corrupted public officials, most of the created wealth also flows to these individuals.

In a corrupt economy, small businesses are not widely spread and are usually discouraged because they face unfair competition and illegal pressures by large companies that are connected with government officials. Certain industries are more prone to corruption than others, making small businesses in these sectors even more vulnerable to unethical business practices.

Corruption in the way deals are made, contracts are awarded, or economic operations are carried out, leads to monopolies or oligopolies in the economy. Those business owners who can use their connections or money to bribe government officials can manipulate policies and market mechanisms to ensure they are the sole provider of goods or services in the market.

Small businesses in corrupt countries tend to avoid having their businesses officially registered with tax authorities to avoid taxation. As a result, the income generated by many businesses exists outside the official economy, and thus are not subject to state taxation or included in the calculation of the country’s GDP.

Another negative of shadow businesses is they usually pay their employees decreased wages, lower than the minimum amount designated by the government. Also, they do not provide acceptable working conditions, including appropriate health insurance benefits for employees.

Press Freedom and Corruption

Press Freedom is at risk in these two countries. This factor leaves a window open to more and more corruption of the country’s system. In Malta, Daphne Caruana Galizia, a prominent investigative journalist, was murdered in 2017 after writing about alleged money laundering by powerful officials, as well as the business dealings of the prime minister’s wife. The investigations and public demonstrations that followed her death eventually led to the resignation of the prime minister, Joseph Muscat, and to the arrest of his chief of staff, Keith Schembri.

On the other hand, although press freedom in the Republic of Cyprus is guaranteed by the constitution, political parties, the Orthodox Church and commercial interests have a great deal of influence over the media. In both sides of the island (greek and turkish) according to Reporters without Borders , journalism is also hampered by certain bans on the use of geographical names not accepted by the state; on the denial of crimes against humanity, and war crimes not recognised by the state.

The Golden Passport Scheme and its links to Corruption Risk

Last October, in a plenary debate with Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders, MEPs stressed the inherent risks that these programmes give rise to, namely money laundering, tax evasion and corruption. They insisted that Europe must not have “a fast-track entrance for criminals”.

The Cyprus Papers – a series by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit – shows that the European Union (EU) is currently defenceless against the haphazard sale of EU citizenship and residency to criminals and the corrupt.

On October 20, the European Commission launched an infringement procedure against Cyprus and Malta over so-called “golden passport” schemes, in which individuals can get a fast track to citizenship after investing between € 1 and 2.5 million in the countries’ economies.  

This practice has been lucrative for both governments. Since 2013, Cyprus raised € 4.8 billion, amounting to 5% of its GDP, by selling thousands of passports to foreign investors. Malta gained about € 718 million in this manner in foreign direct investment since 2014. 

This in turn undermines the integrity of the status of EU citizenship and is incompatible with the principle of sincere cooperation between the EU and member states.  In addition, journalists revealed that high-profile criminals were able to obtain Cypriot passports. The Commission argues that this represents a security threat for the EU as a whole, and increases the risk of money laundering, tax evasion and corruption. 

Without ensuring individuals applying for citizenship have a  genuine connection to their countries – an internationally recognized legal standard for citizenship – they have been taking risks for the EU as a whole.  Corruption in any country, however small, affects the EU as a whole. Every country has a veto over some crucial policies, such as the EU budget. Each country also gets a turn at chairing the EU and shaping its agenda. A passport from any EU country confers the right to live and work anywhere in the EU27.

For example, many of the new owners of a Cypriot passport sought to evade criminal prosecution in their home countries. Mykola Zlochevsky, the owner of the Burisma energy company who is wanted in Ukraine, obtained his passport in 2017. At the time, he was already under investigation in Ukraine for corruption where he offered prosecutors a $ 6 million bribe in cash. 

The government of Cyprus was also accused of issuing passports to foreign criminals and the relatives of despots such as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and Cambodia’s Hun Sen.

Not only were the lax requirements to “buy” citizenship in Cyprus and Malta legally and morally questionable, in practice, these schemes were also a harbour of corruption. Anyone willing to pay for it could get a passport with no difficulty. The most direct result of this is to give access to the EU to wealthy people evading criminal charges at home. 

Thank you for your time!

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