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Comparing the Dutch/Turkish row to the 2014 Ukrainian coup is insulting and wrong

A minor, childish spat cannot be compared to an illegal coup which has resulted in an ongoing bloody war

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Some have attempted to compare the background to the current Turkish-Dutch diplomatic row to the US, Poland, Sweden and others, funding, orchestrating and encouraging the illegal coup in Kiev in 2014.

The parallels are superficial to the point of a total distortion of recent events.

Here’s why.

1. A foreign rally for a foreign cause 

The planned rally in The Netherlands was designed to engage Turkish citizens about a Turkish vote. The vote is Erdogan’s constitutional referendum that will solidify his position as a dictator in all but name. The vote, if won, will essentially mean that Erdogan has no meaningful parliamentary or judicial oversight of any kind. It will represent the final nail in the coffin of Kemalism and sad day for those who admire Ataturk.

It is worrying, but only for Turkish citizens. Erdogan for all of his countless faults, is not trying to overthrow the government of The Netherlands, nor is he trying to influence the Dutch election.

As it happens, I am sympathetic with the reality that legally, the Dutch are perfectly in order when asking Turkish authorities to postpone the rally until after the upcoming Dutch elections. But even if this alone was cause for an argument, it is still no excuse to kick out and bar the entry of government ministers with diplomatic immunity.

What could have been handled in a grown up and dignified way has become an unnecessary row between two countries who are looking increasingly undignified.

I don’t think anyone on any side of the current dispute could imagine for example, President Putin acting like the Dutch or Turkish sides. He’s head and shoulders above both in terms of being a statesman.

Russia’s pragmatic and respectful approach to diplomatic relations would not have allowed the situation to publicly spiral out of control. The Dutch attitude towards this has allowed an uncomfortable situation to become a shameful one.

Furthermore, if Russia who as recently as 2015 had their fighter plane shot from the sky by Turkey, can engage in healthy diplomatic relations with Erdogan, so too can the Dutch who have had no military engagements with Turkey let alone any profound geo-political disagreements, as Moscow and Ankara do in terms of Syrian policy.

The Dutch overreaction can further be gauged by the fact that a similar rally occurred in France without incident.

2. Maidan Was Regime Change 

The actual parallels with the 2014 Ukrainian coup are the Iraq war and Libyan war. These were wars where western powers, led a war with the overt purpose of toppling the legal governments of sovereign states. The events in Kiev in 2014 were similar.

The only difference is that the regime change was accomplished by financing a violent coup which led the legitimately elected President, Viktor Yanukovych to flee for his life. In this sense, the methodology the US and its allies employed was more similar to the 1953 coup in Iran against the democratically elected Mohammad Mosaddegh or the 1973 coup in Chile against the democratically elected Salvador Allende.

But in terms of the aggregate result, Ukraine’s situation is more like Iraq and Libya. Although Iran and Chile lost their democracies as a result of the CIA orchestrated coups, the states remained stable and even wealthy in the aftermath of the coups.

By contrast, Ukraine has become a failed state where a sectarian war is being waged by fascist extremists (both in and out of government), many of whom call for open genocide against ethno-linguistic Russians.

As this war is being waged, the economy has crumbled, public services have collapsed, infrastructure has crumbled and those who were previously ambivalent about the post-coup government now see it as catastrophic.

This description of a post-regime change state will be familiar to those who have observed Iraq after 2003 and Libya after 2011.

3. Strengthening Democratic Legitimacy 

The 2014 coup in Ukraine saw the outlawing of legal political parties who disagreed with the fascist tone set by the new illegal regime. This including the former President’s Party of Regions as well as the Ukrainian Communist Party.

By contrast no party political changes will occur in The Netherlands or Turkey as a result of the current dispute.

When it comes to Turkey, it was almost a certainty Erdogan would win his referendum by hook or by crook. Such methods would include mobilising his militant base, voter intimidation and in some regions, outright rigging.

Now though, by painting himself as a kind of political martyr to a Europe all ready unpopular among many Turks, Erdogan may not even need to rig votes or intimidate voters. He can simply present himself as a national hero of the Turks. In this sense, The Dutch gave Erdogan a big electoral gift and played directly into his hands. The man likes shouting and the Dutch gave him plenty to shout about.

Likewise, Geert Wilders and his Dutch Freedom Party who had all ready been surging in the polls, have been given a gift by Erdogan. By encouraging the shouting of Turkish slogans and the waving of foreign flags in Dutch streets, Erdogan has given Wilders a gift.

Now Wilders can use a recent example of how foreigners are changing the character of Dutch society. Just as the undiplomatic reaction of the Dutch gives Erdogan his anti-European talking points, so too does Erdogan’s ultra-nationalistic reaction give Wilders his anti-Islam and anti-foreigner talking points.

Both men will have achieved a greater threshold of legitimate democratic approval as a result.

4. No meaningful change 

Most importantly, whether one is an ethnic Russian living in Donetsk or a neo-Nazi living in Lviv, no one can argue that the Ukraine of 2014 is the same as it was before. Not only will it never go-back, the entire historically dubious borders of such a state will almost certainly continue to change beyond the point of recognition.

By contrast, nothing will change for Turkey or The Netherlands. Erdogan isn’t going anywhere, nor is Dutch society.

Once the dust settles from the current spat and relations between the two countries becomes normalised, people will understand how comparisons with 2014 Ukraine are not only facile but downright insulting to those who have died and continue to die in Donbass as a direct result of the coup.

 

 

 

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BREXIT chaos, as May’s cabinet crumbles (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 18.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at the various scenarios now facing a crumbling May government, as the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is forcing cabinet members to resign in rapid succession. The weekend ahead is fraught with uncertainty for the UK and its position within, or outside, the European Union.

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If Theresa May’s ill-fated Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is eventually rejected this could trigger a vote of no confidence, snap elections or even a new referendum…

Here are six possible scenarios facing Theresa May and the UK (via The Guardian)

1 Parliament blocks Theresa May’s draft withdrawal agreement and political declarations

May faces an enormous task to win parliamentary approval, given that Labour, the SNP, the DUP and 51 Tories have said they will not vote for it.

If the remaining 27 EU member states sign off the draft agreement on 25 November, the government will have to win over MPs at a crucial vote in early December.

If May loses the vote, she has 21 days to put forward a new plan. If she wins, she is safe for now.

2 May withdraws the current draft agreement

The prime minister could decide that she will not get the draft agreement through parliament and could seek to renegotiate with the EU.

This would anger Tory backbenchers and Brussels and would be seen as a humiliation for her government. It might spark a leadership contest too.

3 Extend article 50

May could ask the European council to extend article 50, giving her more time to come up with a deal that could be passed by parliament – at present, the UK will leave on 29 March 2019.

Such a request would not necessarily be granted. Some EU governments are under pressure from populist parties to get the UK out of the EU as soon as possible.

4 Conservative MPs trigger a vote of no confidence in the prime minister

If Conservative MPs believe May is no longer fit for office, they could trigger a no-confidence vote.

Members of the European Research Group claim that Graham Brady, the chair of the powerful 1922 Committee, will receive the necessary 48 letters this week.

A vote could be held as soon as early next week. All Tory MPs would be asked to vote for or against their leader. If May wins, she cannot be challenged for at least 12 months. If she loses, there would be a leadership contest to decide who will become prime minister.

5 General election – three possible routes

If May fails to get support for the current deal, she could call a snap general election.

She would table a parliamentary vote for a general election that would have to be passed by two thirds of MPs. She would then set an election date, which could be by the end of January.

This is an unlikely option. May’s political credibility was severely damaged when she called a snap election in 2017, leading to the loss of the Conservative party’s majority.

Alternatively, a general election could be called if a simple majority of MPs vote that they have no confidence in the government. Seven Tory MPs, or all of the DUP MPs, would have to turn against the government for it to lose the vote, triggering a two-week cooling-off period. May would remain in office while MPs negotiate a new government.

Another route to a general election would be for the government to repeal or amend the Fixed-term Parliaments Act which creates a five-year period between general elections. A new act would have to be passed through both the Commons and the Lords – an unlikely scenario.

6 Second referendum

May could decide it is impossible to find a possible draft deal that will be approved by parliament and go for a people’s vote.

The meaningful vote could be amended to allow MPs to vote on whether the country holds a second referendum. It is unclear whether enough MPs would back a second referendum and May has ruled it out.

 

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Brexit Withdrawal Agreement may lead to Theresa May’s downfall (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 151.

Alex Christoforou

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The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement has been published and as many predicted, including Nigel Farage, the document is leading to the collapse of Theresa May’s government.

During an interview with iTV’s Piers Morgan, remain’s Alistair Campell and leave’s Nigel Farage, were calling May’s Brexit deal a complete disaster.

Via iTV

Alastair Campbell: “This doesn’t do remotely what was offered…what is the point”

“Parliament is at an impasse”

“We have to go back to the people” …”remain has to be on the ballot paper”

Nigel Farage:

“This is the worst deal in history. We are giving away in excess of 40B pounds in return for precisely nothing. Trapped still inside the European Union’s rulebook.

“Nothing has been achieved.”

“In any negotiation in life…the other side need to know that you are serious about walking away.”

“What monsieur Barnier knew from day one, is that at no point did Theresa May intend to walk away.”

“Fundamental matter of trust to the electors of our country and those who govern us.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Theresa May’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, and why the deal is a full on victory for the European Union and a document of subjugation for the United Kingdom.

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Coming in at 585 pages, the draft agreement will be closely scrutinized over the coming days but here are some of the highlights as outlined by Zerohedge

  • UK and EU to use the best endeavours to supersede Ireland protocol by 2020
  • UK can request extension of the transition period any time before July 1st, 2020
  • EU, UK See Level-Playing Field Measures in Future Relationship
  • Transition period may be extended once up to date yet to be specified in the text
  • EU and UK shall establish single customs territory and Northern Ireland is in same customs territory as Great Britain

The future relationship document is less than seven pages long. It says the U.K. and EU are seeking a free-trade area with cooperation on customs and rules: “Comprehensive arrangements creating a free trade area combining deep regulatory and customs cooperation, underpinned by provisions ensuring a level playing field for open and fair competition.”

The wording might raise concerns among Brexiters who don’t want regulatory cooperation and the measures on fair competition could amount to shackling the U.K. to EU rules.

As Bloomberg’s Emma Ross-Thomas writes, “There’s a clear sense in the documents that we’re heading for a customs union in all but name. Firstly via the Irish backstop, and then via the future relationship.”

Separately, a government summary of the draft agreement suggests role for parliament in deciding whether to extend the transition or to move in to the backstop.

But perhaps most importantly, regarding the controversial issue of the Irish border, the future relationship document says both sides aim to replace the so-called backstop – the thorniest issue in the negotiations – with a “subsequent agreement that establishes alternative arrangements for ensuring the absence of a hard border on the island of Ireland on a permanent footing.”

On this topic, recall that the U.K.’s fear was of being locked into the backstop arrangement indefinitely in the absence of a broader trade deal. The draft agreement includes a review process to try to give reassurance that the backstop would never be needed. Basically, the U.K. could choose to seek an extension to the transition period – where rules stay the same as they are currently – or opt to trigger the backstop conditions. In fact, as Bloomberg notes, the word “backstop,” which has been a sticking point over the Irish border for weeks, is mentioned only once in the text.

As Bloomberg further adds, the withdrawal agreement makes clear that the U.K. will remain in a single customs area with the EU until there’s a solution reached on the Irish border. It’s what Brexiteers hate, because it makes it more difficult for the U.K. to sign its own free-trade deals, which they regard as a key prize of Brexit.

Predictably, EU Commission President Juncker said decisive progress has been made in negotiations.

Meanwhile, as analysts comb over the documents, Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group, has already written to Conservative lawmakers urging them to vote against the deal. He says:

  • May is handing over money for “little or nothing in return”
  • The agreement treats Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the U.K.
  • It will “lock” the U.K. into a customs union with the EU
  • It breaks the Tory election manifesto of 2017

The full document…

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4 resignations and counting: May’s government ‘falling apart before our eyes’ over Brexit deal

The beginning of the end for Theresa May’s government.

The Duran

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Via RT


Four high profile resignations have followed on the heels of Theresa May’s announcement that her cabinet has settled on a Brexit deal, with Labour claiming that the Conservative government is at risk of completely dissolving.

Shailesh Vara, the Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office was the first top official to resign after the prime minister announced that her cabinet had reached a draft EU withdrawal agreement.

An hour after his announcement, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab – the man charged with negotiating and finalizing the deal – said he was stepping down, stating that the Brexit deal in its current form suffers from deep flaws. Esther McVey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, submitted her letter of resignation shortly afterwards. More resignations have followed.

Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister, Jon Trickett, predicted that this is the beginning of the end for May’s government.

The government is falling apart before our eyes as for a second time the Brexit secretary has refused to back the prime minister’s Brexit plan. This so-called deal has unraveled before our eyes

Shailesh Vara: UK to be stuck in ‘a half-way house with no time limit’

Kicking off Thursday’s string of resignations, Vara didn’t mince words when describing his reservations about the cabinet-stamped Brexit deal.

Theresa May’s EU withdrawal agreement leaves the UK in a “halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally become a sovereign nation,” his letter of resignation states. Vara went on to warn that the draft agreement leaves a number of critical issues undecided, predicting that it “will take years to conclude” a trade deal with the bloc.

“We will be locked in a customs arrangement indefinitely, bound by rules determined by the EU over which we have no say,” he added.

Dominic Raab: Deal can’t be ‘reconciled’ with promises made to public

Announcing his resignation on Thursday morning, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted: “I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU.”

Raab claimed that the deal in its current form gives the EU veto power over the UK’s ability to annul the deal.

No democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime.

Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith said that Raab’s resignation as Brexit secretary is “devastating” for May.

“It sounds like he has been ignored,” he told the BBC.

Raab’s departure will undoubtedly encourage other Brexit supporters to question the deal, political commentators have observed.

Esther McVey: Deal ‘does not honor’ Brexit referendum

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey didn’t hold back when issuing her own letter of resignation. According to McVey, the deal “does not honour” the result of the Brexit referendum, in which a majority of Brits voted to leave the European Union.

Suella Braverman: ‘Unable to sincerely support’ deal

Suella Braverman, a junior minister in Britain’s Brexit ministry, issued her resignation on Thursday, saying that she couldn’t stomach the deal.

“I now find myself unable to sincerely support the deal agreed yesterday by cabinet,” she said in a letter posted on Twitter.

Suella Braverman, MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Exiting the EU © Global Look Press / Joel Goodman
Braverman said that the deal is not what the British people voted for, and threatened to tear the country apart.

“It prevents an unequivocal exit from a customs union with the EU,” she said.

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