Putting citizenship up for sale is a controversial endeavor. Some natural-born citizens of a country might revolt against the idea of wealthy foreign investors purchasing what is essentially their birthright. Others may be opposed to the possibility of Chinese or nationals of another state pouring into their own country. There are also geopolitical risks to weigh when a country implements a citizenship by investment (CBI) program. Some existing CBI programs, for instance, have lured Russian oligarchs. Notably, aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, purchased Cypriot, and hence EU, citizenship through the CBI program in Cyprus. Reuters reported earlier this month that Iranian nationals are making use of Turkey’s recently revamped economic citizenship program to dodge U.S. sanctions. Additionally, there are
Istanbul’s Taksim Square has a new feel. A giant mosque — not yet completed — now towers over a monument to the Turkish Republic in the center of the square. The monument glorifies Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the secular Turkish Republic. On Sunday night, supporters of Erdogan celebrated the president’s election victory, gathering around the busts of Ataturk, screaming “Allahu akbar” (God is great), Palestine is for Arabs and other chants, including singing a song glorifying Erdogan. They paused their celebration briefly during the call to prayer. Down the street on Istiklal Avenue — a hub for bar and entertainment venues — the tourist contingent is dominated by people from the Middle East and the Muslim world. While tourism appears to be picking up in Turkey,
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cemented his control over Turkey Sunday, establishing a new political order out of the chaos that has gripped the country over the last couple of years. With a narrow victory in Turkey’s constitutional referendum, Erdogan will now become head of government, in addition to being head of state. He will have the legal ground to rule largely by executive decree, something he has already been doing under a state of emergency. Erdogan also said he plans to parlay Sunday’s victory into a referendum on bringing back the death penalty. Additionally, if twice reelected as president, Erdogan could serve as Turkey’s executive leader until 2029. On Sunday, Erdogan’s “yes” campaign received about 51.4% of the vote. The “no” campaign received
President Erdogan’s radical departure from previous policy lines toward the Kurdish minority and its political representatives in the Turkish Parliament could derail Turkey’s ambitious plans to act as a crucial energy hub for gas and oil flows destined to the EU and global market. He is not only fighting the PKK but all Kurds, as HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş was arrested along with at least 11 MPs in a marked escalation of the post-coup crackdown. Intensification of the government’s war against Kurds in the southeastern region of the country might spell the end of a risk-free environment for all major transit projects passing through Turkey — both existing and planned. A sequence of bombs blasts — the last one two weeks ago on the gas line
Following President Putin’s trip to Turkey and a sequence of publicity stunts, some of them jointly with President Erdogan, it has become clear that the Russian leader is engaging in another game of poker politics in a desperate attempt to make headlines, impress the international audience and sell more gas to Europe, bypassing EU directives and concurrently Ukraine. Although most of his plan is a deja vu, the decision to proceed with the intergovernmental agreement on Turkish stream and start maneuvers on the gas front from Istanbul contains a piece of novelty. Most of the background remains the same – intentions, plans for the future, verbal rather than real streams – but the new moments are worth noting. Russia has changed several key elements in its approach to the ‘streams’ issue.
It was with great fanfare that the EU announced its Bratislava meeting last Sept. 16 as a crucial get together of its leaders to take stock of the state of the union after Brexit and the turbulent year in which more than a million migrants came to Germany alone. In previous meetings of the kind, the operational mantra had always been “ever closer union” as the panacea for all problems. Not this time. The meeting started with Angela Merkel, the real boss of the EU opining that the EU was in a “critical situation” only to be mildly contradicted a day later by Junker who said in his state of the union speech that the EU was not disintegrating. It is possible that both of them were right, but
President Erdogan has managed to scare and tie up Europe in a poker play classic – lift visas or refugees will flood your countries. This is another common feature between presidents Erdogan and Putin – they are masters in poker politics and more modest in real time economic and foreign policy achievements. It is suffice to look at the friends they have made and sustained over the years. A quick review in retrospect of the zero problems policies of Erdogan would speak volumes for the Turkish president’s diplomatic and policy skills when measured in new friends. Davutoglu’s dismissal might have signaled a change in Erdogan’s mindset – rapprochements with Russia, Israel and Iran are already making news headlines. But underneath this façade of events – there is a double
“Pessimism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; it reproduces itself by crippling our willingness to act.” Howard Zinn Following the freeze in the relations between Russia and Turkey and the affluent geopolitical context of Putin and Erdogan’s personal diplomacy, some analysts were quick to affirm that the bilateral relations are heading towards an unprecedented era of strategic partnership. The story went further to passing alarmist concerns that the two leaders could be acting in tandem, commanding considerable weight and shifting fragile balances in the international system, including eroding from within the internal cohesion within the EU and NATO. This is an entirely false assumption, that ignores blatant facts. As a hypothesis it provides ample ground for manipulative interpretations and even self inflicted wounds. The truth is that the seemingly perfect match of the