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Erdogan rages at Europe; threatens to flood Europe with refugees

Outraged by European Parliament’s decision to freeze Turkey’s EU accession talks, Turkish President Erdogan threatens to flood Europe with refugees in retaliation.

Alexander Mercouris

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Even as he doubles down on his increasingly aggressive policies in Syria, Turkish President Erdogan is now cranking up for a further furious row with the EU.

Though some Turkish officials appear to have wanted to downplay the European Parliament’s resolution on freezing Turkey negotiations to join the EU, Erdogan himself has responded with predictable fury, accusing the EU of “betrayal” and threatening to flood the EU with refugees if the decision is not quickly reversed.  Some of Erdogan’s language is – diplomatically speaking – off the scale

“Some 30-40 votes for ‘no’ and 400-500 votes for ‘yes.’ What would happen if all of you voted ‘yes?’ You never treated humanity honestly and you did not look after people fairly. You did not pick up babies when they washed ashore on the Mediterranean. We are the ones who are feeding around 3.5 million refugees in this country.

You did not keep your promises. When 50,000 refugees turned up at the Kapıkule [border gate] you cried out and began to say ‘What will we do when Turkey opens the border gates?’ Look, if you go further, those border gates will be opened. You should know that.”

Just a few months ago, after the refugee crisis broke, certain supposedly knowledgeable commentators in the Western media said it was all a wicked plot by Russian President Putin to flood Europe with refugees in order to undermine German Chancellor Angela Merkel.  No evidence for that bizarre claim was ever produced because of course there is none.  Erdogan’s latest comments however show who really does think of using refugees in this way.

Putting all that aside, Erdogan for once has a measure of justice on his side. 

Turkey entered into an association agreement with the EU back in 1963 and formally applied to join in 1987.  Since then it has had to watch in frustration as it is repeatedly put to the back of the queue as a seemingly endless procession of formerly Communist East European states have been allowed to join ahead of it. 

Given the key role Turkey played on the Western side in the Cold War, for a proud nation this must be beyond frustrating.

It hasn’t helped that whilst pretending to welcome Turkey’s eventual EU membership, EU political leaders are barely able to conceal their strong prejudice against Turkey, and their quiet but firmly held belief – widely shared by the European public – that as an Islamic state Turkey simply does not belong in a union made up of the states of once Christian Europe.

Understandably enough many Turks have come to feel that Turkey has been led up the garden path, kept perpetually onside and persuaded to subordinate itself to Western policies it has no inherent interest in and avoiding engagement with neighbours that are arguably culturally more compatible allies such as the Central Asian states, Russia and Iran, in return for a promise of EU membership which is not intended seriously, and which will never be fulfilled.

Beyond this Erdogan has a further personal reason for resentment. 

The European Parliament’s resolution was supposedly triggered by his supposed overreaction to the failed coup in Turkey, with the European Parliament criticising the actions Erdogan has taken to crush his opponents by jailing so many thousands of them.

As the democratically elected leader of Turkey Erdogan will have undoubtedly noticed that this European concern for his opponents was not matched by a comparable concern for him when the coup against him in July appeared to be about to succeed. 

Not only did European and Western governments remain silent and fail to signal their support for him – in contrast to the Russian and Iranian governments which did – but if it is true that several European states refused his aircraft landing rights, then it is not difficult to understand why he might feel that the true sympathies of most European leaders were with his opponents rather than with him. 

In such a context it is easy to see how Erdogan might interpret European expressions of “concern” for the fate of these people as further confirmation of where Europe’s true sympathies lie.

I would add that if Erdogan’s gaze stretches – as it probably does – across the Black Sea at Europe’s response to the crisis in Ukraine then he cannot have failed to notice that the EU not only welcomed a coup which overthrew a democratically elected President, but that it continues to support a government which gained power through that coup, and which harshly oppresses the former supporters of the overthrown President.  If Erdogan dwells on all this (as from to time he probably does) then the parallels with his own situation must seem too close for comfort.

Having said all this, whilst it is possible in this case to make excuses for Erdogan, his quarrel with the EU is a further case study of the shocking mess he has made of Turkey’s foreign policy. 

Whereas Erdogan at one time promised a “no problems” foreign policy with his neighbours, and as recently as this June was talking of Turkey’s need to sort out the problems it had with some of them in its own interests, he now finds himself in conflict with Egypt, Iraq and Syria, at war with the Kurds in Syria, in profound disagreement with Iran over Iraq and Syria, and on bad terms with the EU.  His relations with Russia meanwhile are not mending as quickly as Erdogan apparently hoped, again because of disagreement between him and Russia about Syria.

To add to Erdogan’s problems his personal relations with US President Obama are by his own account very bad, whilst what his relations with President elect Donald Trump will be like is as yet unknown.

The only important countries in Turkey’s region that Erdogan is presently on good terms with are Israel – with which he once quarrelled and which doesn’t trust him – and with Saudi Arabia, which has repeatedly shown itself a false friend, and which is militarily weak.

The trouble is that though Erdogan shows at times some understanding of Turkey’s limited power and that this makes it simply impossible for him to conduct the sort of grandiose ‘neo-Ottoman’ foreign policy he hankers after, his vanity and his inordinate ambition always in the end prevent him from acting on this understanding. 

Thus when he says things like “the world is bigger than five” – as he did in his comments today – he is purporting to place Turkey – and by extension himself – on the same level as the five Great Powers of the UN Security Council – an impossible ambition, and one which explains why Turkish foreign policy is the mess it currently is.

Can any good however come from all this? 

In one respect Erdogan’s habit of getting into quarrels with everyone around him may have done Turkey some good.  If the fantasy of Turkey integrating itself into Europe and joining the EU is now finally and conclusively buried, then that can only be a good thing. Turkey would in that case finally be free to conduct a foreign policy free of illusions, pitched to its own interests, rather than one constantly intended to please someone else whose promises to Turkey are never fulfilled. 

Should that happen there may some day be a Turkish statesman who makes the most of it.  However that person is most unlikely to be Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Macron offers crumbs to protestors in bid to save his globalist agenda (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 36.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at French President Macron’s pathetic display of leadership as he offers protestors little in the way of concessions while at the same time promising to crack down hard on any and all citizens who resort to violence.

Meanwhile France’s economy is set for a deep recession as French output and production grinds to a halt.

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Via Zerohedge


As if Brussels didn’t have its hands full already with Italy and the UK, the European Union will soon be forced to rationalize why one of its favorite core members is allowed to pursue populist measures to blow out its budget deficit to ease domestic unrest while another is threatened with fines potentially amounting to billions of euros.

When blaming Russia failed to quell the widespread anger elicited by his policies, French President Emmanuel Macron tried to appease the increasingly violent “yellow vests” protesters who have sacked his capital city by offering massive tax cuts that could blow the French budget out beyond the 3% budget threshold outlined in the bloc’s fiscal rules.

Given the concessions recently offered by Italy’s populists, Macron’s couldn’t have picked a worse time to challenge the bloc’s fiscal conventions. As Bloomberg pointed out, these rules will almost certainly set the Continent’s second largest economy on a collision course with Brussels. To be clear, Macron’s offered cuts come with a price tag of about €11 billion according to Les Echos, and will leave the country with a budget gap of 3.5% of GDP in 2019, with one government official said the deficit may be higher than 3.6%.

By comparison, Italy’s initial projections put its deficit target at 2.4%, a number which Europe has repeatedly refused to consider.

Macron’s promises of fiscal stimulus – which come on top of his government’s decision to delay the planned gas-tax hikes that helped inspire the protests – were part of a broader ‘mea culpa’ offered by Macron in a speech Monday night, where he also planned to hike France’s minimum wage.

Of course, when Brussels inevitably objects, perhaps Macron could just show them this video of French police tossing a wheelchair-bound protester to the ground.

Already, the Italians are complaining.  Speaking on Tuesday, Italian cabinet undersecretary Giancarlo Giorgetti said Italy hasn’t breached the EU deficit limit. “I repeat that from the Italian government there is a reasonable approach, if there is one also from the EU a solution will be found.”

“France has several times breached the 3% deficit. Italy hasn’t done it. They are different situations. There are many indicators to assess.”

Still, as one Guardian columnist pointed out in an op-ed published Tuesday morning, the fact that the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) organizers managed to pressure Macron to cave and grant concessions after just 4 weeks of protests will only embolden them to push for even more radical demands: The collapse of the government of the supremely unpopular Macron.

Then again, with Brussels now facing certain accusations of hypocrisy, the fact that Macron was pressured into the exact same populist measures for which Italy has been slammed, the French fiasco raises the odds that Rome can pass any deficit measure it wants with the EU now forced to quietly look away even as it jawbones all the way from the bank (i.e., the German taxpayers).

“Macron’s spending will encourage Salvini and Di Maio,” said Giovanni Orsina, head of the School of Government at Rome’s Luiss-Guido Carli University. “Macron was supposed to be the spearhead of pro-European forces, if he himself is forced to challenge EU rules, Salvini and Di Maio will jump on that to push their contention that those rules are wrong.”

While we look forward to how Brussels will square this circle, markets are less excited.

Exhausted from lurching from one extreme to another following conflicting headlines, traders are already asking if “France is the new Italy.” The reason: the French OAT curve has bear steepened this morning with 10Y yields rising as much as ~6bp, with the Bund/OAT spread reaching the widest since May 2017 and the French presidential election. Though well below the peaks of last year, further widening would push the gap into levels reserved for heightened political risk.

As Bloomberg macro analyst Michael Read notes this morning, it’s hard to see a specific near-term trigger blowing out the Bund/OAT spread but the trend looks likely to slowly drift higher.

While Macron has to fight on both domestic and European fronts, he’ll need to keep peace at home to stay on top. Remember that we saw the 10Y spread widen to ~80bps around the May ’17 elections as concerns of a move toward the political fringe played out in the markets, and the French President’s popularity ratings already look far from rosy.

And just like that France may have solved the Italian crisis.

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Watch: Democrat Chuck Schumer shows his East Coast elitism on live TV

Amazing moment in which the President exhibits “transparency in government” and shows the world who the Democrat leaders really are.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the reasons Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency was because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – against Democrat policy decisions and “stupid government” in general.

One of the reasons President Donald Trump is reviled is because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – in the American political scene.

In other words, there are two reactions to the same characteristic. On Tuesday, the President did something that probably cheered and delighted a great many Americans who witnessed this.

The Democrats have been unanimous in taking any chance to roast the President, or to call for his impeachment, or to incite violence against him. But Tuesday was President Trump’s turn. He invited the two Democrat leaders, presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and then, he turned the cameras on:

As Tucker Carlson notes, the body language from Schumer was fury. The old (something)-eating grin covered up humiliation, embarrassment and probably no small amount of fear, as this whole incident was filmed and broadcast openly and transparently to the American public. Nancy Pelosi was similarly agitated, and she expressed it later after this humiliation on camera, saying, “It’s like a manhood thing for him… As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”

She didn’t stop there. According to a report from the New York Daily News, the Queen Bee took the rhetoric a step below even her sense of dignity:

Pelosi stressed she made clear to Trump there isn’t enough support in Congress for a wall and speculated the President is refusing to back down because he’s scared to run away with his tail between his legs.

“I was trying to be the mom. I can’t explain it to you. It was so wild,” Pelosi said of the Oval Office meet, which was also attended by Vice President Pence and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

This represented the first salvo in a major spin-job for the ultra-liberal San Francisco Democrat. The rhetoric spun by Mrs. Pelosi and Chuck Schumer was desperate as they tried to deflect their humiliation and place it back on the President:

With reporters still present, Trump boasted during the Oval meeting he would be “proud” to shutdown the government if Congress doesn’t earmark cash for his wall before a Dec. 21 spending deadline.

Pelosi told Democrats that Trump’s boisterousness will be beneficial for them.

“The fact is we did get him to say, to fully own that the shutdown was his,” Pelosi said. “That was an accomplishment.”

The press tried to characterize this as a “Trump Tantrum”, saying things like this lede:

While “discussing” a budgetary agreement for the government, President Donald Trump crossed his arms and declared: “we will shut down the government if there is no wall.”

While the Democrats and the mainstream media in the US are sure to largely buy these interpretations of the event, the fact that this matter was televised live shows that the matter was entirely different, and this will be discomfiting to all but those Democrats and Trump-dislikers that will not look at reality.

There appears to be a twofold accomplishment for the President in this confrontation:

  1. The President revealed to his support base the real nature of the conversation with the Democrat leadership, because anyone watching this broadcast (and later, video clip) saw it unedited with their own eyes. They witnessed the pettiness of both Democrats and they witnessed a President completely comfortable and confident about the situation.
  2. President Trump probably made many of his supporters cheer with the commitment to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his border wall funding. This cheering is for both the strength shown about getting the wall finished and the promise to shut the government down, and further, Mr. Trump’s assertion that he would be “proud” to shut the government down, taking complete ownership willingly, reflects a sentiment that many of his supporters share.

The usual pattern is for the media, Democrats and even some Republicans to create a “scare” narrative about government shutdowns, about how doing this is a sure-fire path to chaos and suffering for the United States.

But the educated understanding of how shutdowns work reveals something completely different. Vital services never close. However, National Parks can close partly or completely, and some non-essential government agencies are shuttered. While this is an inconvenience for the employees furloughed during the shutdown, they eventually are re-compensated for the time lost, and are likely to receive help during the shutdown period if they need it. The impact on the nation is minimal, aside from the fact that the government stops spending money at the same frenetic pace as usual.

President Trump’s expression of willingness to do this action and his singling out of the Dem leadership gives the Democrats a real problem. Now the entire country sees their nature. As President Trump is a populist, this visceral display of Democrat opposition and pettiness will make at least some impact on the population, even that group of people who are not Trump fans.

The media reaction and that of the Democrats here show, amazingly, that after three years-plus of Donald Trump being a thorn in their side, they still do not understand how he works, and they also cannot match it against their expected “norms” of establishment behavior.

This may be a brilliant masterstroke, and it also may be followed up by more. The President relishes head-to-head conflict. The reactions of these congress members showed who they really are.

Let the games begin.

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French opposition rejects Macron’s concessions to Yellow Vests, some demand ‘citizen revolution’

Mélenchon: “I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.”

RT

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Via RT…


Macron’s concessions to the Yellow Vests has failed to appease protesters and opposition politicians, such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who called for “citizen’s revolution” to continue until a fair distribution of wealth is achieved.

Immediately after French President Macron declared a “social and economic state of emergency” in response to large-scale protests by members of the Yellow Vest movement, promising a range of concessions to address their grievances, left-wing opposition politician Mélenchon called on the grassroots campaign to continue their revolution next Saturday.

I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.

Macron’s promise of a €100 minimum wage increase, tax-free overtime pay and end-of-year bonuses, Mélenchon argued, will not affect any “considerable part” of the French population. Yet the leader of La France Insoumise stressed that the “decision” to rise up rests with “those who are in action.”

“We expect a real redistribution of wealth,” Benoît Hamon, a former presidential candidate and the founder of the Mouvement Génération, told BFM TV, accusing Macron’s package of measures that benefit the rich.

The Socialist Party’s first secretary, Olivier Faure, also slammed Macron’s financial concessions to struggling workers, noting that his general “course has not changed.”

Although welcoming certain tax measures, Marine Le Pen, president of the National Rally (previously National Front), accused the president’s “model” of governance based on “wild globalization, financialization of the economy, unfair competition,” of failing to address the social and cultural consequences of the Yellow Vest movement.

Macron’s speech was a “great comedy,”according to Debout la France chairman, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who accused the French President of “hypocrisy.”

Yet many found Melanchon’s calls to rise up against the government unreasonable, accusing the 67-year-old opposition politician of being an “opportunist” and “populist,” who is trying to hijack the social protest movement for his own gain.

Furthermore, some 54 percent of French believe the Yellow Vests achieved their goals and want rallies to stop, OpinionWay survey showed. While half of the survey respondents considered Macron’s anti-crisis measures unconvincing, another 49 percent found the president to be successful in addressing the demands of the protesters. Some 68 percent of those polled following Macron’s speech on Monday especially welcomed the increase in the minimum wage, while 78 percent favored tax cuts.

The Yellow Vest protests against pension cuts and fuel tax hikes last month were organized and kept strong via social media, without help from France’s powerful labor unions or official political parties. Some noted that such a mass mobilization of all levels of society managed to achieve unprecedented concessions from the government, which the unions failed to negotiate over the last three decades.

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