Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continues to pursue a radical shift in Turkey: by the end of January, the country’s parliament will vote on a bill already rejected in 2016 in the face of outrage.
The latter will allow rapists of minors to marry their victims, reported the British daily The Independant.
The text, named “Marry your rapist”, allows men guilty of this crime towards a minor, to avoid being punished by the courts if they unite before the law with their victim. A bill which has aroused the ire of the opposition, and in particular of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), which believes that it will legalize rape and encourage sexual abuse and the exploitation of children.
In Turkey, according to the United Nations, 38 percent of women claim to have already been the victim of physical or sexual violence by a partner.
French BFMTV, for its part, reported on the unequivocal position of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on male-female relationships. “Our religion (Islam) has defined a place for women (in society): motherhood,” he said in 2014. According to him, the two genders cannot be treated in the same way before the law “because it ‘is against human nature'”. Their character, their habits and their physique are different, and therefore “you cannot put a woman who breastfeeds her child and a man on the same level”, he had also said about women.
On November 15,2019, Ankara celebrated the 36th anniversary of the “deliverance” from the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”. This event should be seen in the context of Ottoman neo-imperialism, faced with a European Union incapable of dissuading an increasingly threatening Islamist Turkey.
The commemoration of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus is in itself an affront to the Republic of Cyprus, whose sovereignty and territorial integrity have been flouted by Ankara since 1974. This commemoration of an invasion with the evocative name (“Operation Attila”) remains a trauma for the so-called “Greek” Cypriots, many of whom live with the pain of seeing their houses occupied by Anatolian Turkish colonists sent by Turkey, whose objective is to overthrow the demographic balances of the island for the benefit of the Turks – Muslims much more Islamized than the Turkish-Cypriots.
The proclamation of the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (TRNC) in 1974 was the result of a military conquest, condemned by many UN and community resolutions. These have in vain demanded for decades the departure of the Turkish occupation forces from the island.
It should be noted that the TRNC is not at all a “part” of the Republic of Turkey, but an official territory of the Republic of Cyprus, the only entity legally representative of the whole of the island, moreover often wrongly called the “Greek part”.
In clear terms, the TRNC is legally a piece of European/Cypriot territory where the Cypriot and EU Community legislative and legal order is de facto “suspended” due to occupation by a third party.
Despite its role as predator of two countries of the Union (Ankara occupies Cyprus and claims the Greek islands of the Aegean Sea), Turkey has claimed since 2005 the “right” to be part of this same EU and pushes it to the point of posing as a victim of “anti-Turkish/anti-Muslim racism” in Europe, supposedly the real reason “for blocking Turkish membership”.
In reality, it is Ankara which is responsible for its non-accession to the EU since since the start of negotiations with the Union for membership, with the successive governments of Erdogan having prevented any recognition, even implicit, of the Republic of Cyprus, and refusing to comply with the 35 “chapters of the acquis communautaire” (EU standards or body of law which a candidate country must adopt in order to join the Union).
Since 2010, in fact, Turkey has hindered the “opening” of new chapters of the acquis and the “closing” of those already open (areas of free movement of capital, competition, economic and monetary policy, relations external …).
Some 16 chapters are therefore currently open and only the one on science and research has been closed. Turkey for example, stubbornly refuses to apply the “Ankara Protocol”, concluded in 2005 to the Republic of Cyprus – which provides for the extension of the Turkey-EU customs union to the ten new member states.
Ankara even continues to deny Greek Cypriot ships and planes access to its ports and airports. In January 2017, talks held in Geneva under the auspices of the United Nations to dismantle the “last frontier” which still divides a European capital in two, failed because of the Turkish President’s categorical refusal to consider a withdrawal of Turkish soldiers from Cyprus.
Since the summer of 2016, negotiations have been bogged down to the point that in June 2019, the Council of the EU concluded “that Turkey continues to move further away from the European Union”.
The Turkish offensive in southern Cyprus against the French and Italian oil companies at the start of 2018, saw tensions escalating when the Turkish army completely blocked an Italian ship in Cypriot waters, in total violation of international law and the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.
Five Turkish warships then threatened a ship of the Italian group ENI dedicated to gas exploration off the coast of the island. Opposed to international companies prospecting in Cypriot waters, Erdogan argued that he defended the “inalienable rights of the Turkish Cypriot community over the natural resources of the whole of Cyprus”, including the “part” not occupied by the Turkish army from offshore drilling.
As usual, the Union took care not to express its “indignation” too strongly, usually much more lively and accompanied by severe sanctions when it comes to Russia’s referendum on Crimea, in eastern Ukraine.
The companies Total and ENI (Italian) have, however, sealed perfectly legal agreements with the Republic of Cyprus and neighbouring countries with a view of exploiting offshore oil deposits in the eastern Mediterranean.
But as a good follower of psychological warfare – which consists in reversing responsibilities and accusing his prey of what his executioner inflicts on him – Erdogan declared, on the anniversary of the invasion of Cyprus and during the Turkish-Cypriot oil and gas crisis: “We will never allow the rights of the Turks of Cyprus, particularly with regard to the oil reserves in the eastern Mediterranean, to be despoiled.”
He even assured that all the efforts of his “Turkish brothers” of the island in favor of a lasting political solution were “undermined” by the Greek side. And far from complying with European demands to stop threatening Cyprus, Turkey sent a Yavuz drilling vessel off the island in early October last year in violation of the Republic of Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
In a resolution adopted unanimously on October 14, 2019, by the European Council, the EU for the first time adopted targeted economic sanctions and measures against Turkey. To the surprise of the Cypriots themselves, the European Council clearly condemned “the unilateral military action carried out by Turkey in the north-east of Syria (…) which compromises the fight against ISIS and seriously threatens European security”.
But not surprisingly, the European proposal to trigger an embargo on arms sales to Turkey, wanted by Germany, France and Italy, was blocked by the British veto. The financial sanctions against illegal Turkish drilling in Cyprus are still far from effective. They will not in any case imply a total freeze of European funds intended for Turkey, in particular because of the blackmail exercised by Ankara about the millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey that Erdogan threatens to release to Europe if the latter blocks the billions promised.
The vice-President of Turkey, Fuat Oktay proudly defended his country’s “right” to carry out drilling work in southern Cyprus: “The plan of the EU foreign ministers to punish our country for our drilling work in Eastern Mediterranean is null and void.”
As for the neo-sultan Erdogan, he saluted the memory of the founder of the TRNC, Rauf Denktas, the incarnation of the worst belligerent Turkish irredentist.