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Strong messages from Pacific while Atlantic is stumbling

Kerem Alkin

Over the last 15 years, while we watch the rise of the Asia-Pacific region increase its weight in the world economy and politics, we see that they are aware of how meaningful it is for them to create significant cooperation opportunities with Turkey, whose playmaker role in Eurasia is rising. On the Atlantic side, the US and the European Union (EU), especially Germany, are making all kind of mistakes with deliberate and offensive attitudes and statements – lacking any diplomatic respect – which will further deteriorate and block relations. It is enough to compare the congratulatory messages of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s indisputable victory in a democratic manner that came from Asia-Pacific to the half-hearted messages from the West.
Chinese President Xi Jinping offered his most sincere congratulations to Erdogan for his success in the June 24 elections on behalf of the Chinese government, the Chinese people and himself, with a message prepared with great care, while stating that he believes Turkey will have greater and new achievements in national development under Erdogan’s leadership. Xi, who stated that close contact between him and President Erdogan over the last few years is encouraging to get positive results in cooperation in all fields and industries, indicated that he is willing to further develop the strategic partnership between China and Turkey in a way that will benefit both countries and their people.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on the other hand, while expressing great content on Erdogan’s extraordinary success, stated that they are interested in developing much stronger relations between the two countries in many areas such as politics, economy and culture; and emphasized that he would like to continue to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the region and the world by joining forces with Turkey – who has assumed an important role in the Middle East region and the international community. The leaders of the Atlantic wing will have to read well what they have lost from the “strong” messages of the Pacific leaders.
We should not skip the important reasoning behind these strong messages from the Pacific. The recent change in the management approach observed in the Turkish Foreign Ministry, followed by the appointment of Hasan Murat Mercan to Japan and Abdulkadir Emin Önen to China, was further strengthened with the proactive efforts of the Turkish Embassies in Tokyo and Beijing. Turkey ranks among the top five countries in the world with diplomatic missions, and is even in front of Japan.
Ranking among the top five countries in the world with a large number of diplomatic missions can only be meaningful if the said diplomatic missions establish proactive relationships with management in the respective countries, create new jobs and investment opportunities for the Turkish business world, if many economic, political, and cultural events are held to strengthen Turkey’s global perception, and if the Turkish diaspora is fully protected in relevant countries. For this reason, we need to thank both Ambassador Mercan and Ambassador Önen for their diplomatic success, which allowed these strong messages to arise from the Pacific.
Global trade warg getting uglier: Article 21 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) allows a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to ban imports of goods if the country perceives threat or danger of weapons or explosive elements from an individual member country. The trade war that the United States has undertaken first against China, then against the EU, Canada and Mexico, referring to this article, on top of becoming increasingly insurmountable in the last month, has shown a tendency to get uglier and wider. The tendency to set up mutual additional customs tariffs for limited products – that transitioned into a new level where the US is prohibiting technology transfer between US-based companies and Chinese and EU companies, is closely monitored with regards to its effect in the escalating tensions between the G7 countries. The US unilaterally putting the nuclear deal with Iran on the shelf and threatening many countries, primarily the EU, China and Turkey, to not purchase oil from Iran, create a serious risk with regards to the issue reaching an unmanageable size in terms of the global political economy.
We are in a situation where the US makes us doubt the GATT Agreement and the existence and philosophy of the WTO by seriously exploiting Article 21, and where a member country’s right to take measures on behalf of its national security is interpreted as aggressive and exploitative. Moreover, because the US has blocked the appointments to the international organization for the last 1.5 years – claiming that the WTO has lost its objectivity – it has also blocked other countries from appealing to the WTO Panel and Appeal Body against the U.S with regards to it violating and abusing WTO rules.
If the US’s attitude and the other countries’ self-protection reflexes render the WTO agreements and the steps to liberalize global trade this questionable, the existence of the WTO may also be threatened for a while. Turkey’s move to annul the import duties on 1,882 raw materials that are not domestically produced is spot-on. These moves to positively support the production costs of the Turkish real sector will continue in the coming days.

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