Stating that we have reached the point where we can solve occasional issues between Turkey and Russia without mediators, our Russian colleagues highlighted that the rapprochement of Turkey and Russia substantially contributes to the economy and peace of the region and that it is a mutually desired process
In the name of our organization's award-winning Sabah Journalists' Club, we concluded a successful meeting in Moscow this week. Professor Aslambek Mozloev from the Diplomatic Academic of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation expressed his congratulations at the event, emphasizing the necessity to base bilateral ties between Turkey and Russia on a trivet of economy, politics, and society. He also emphasized that the Sabah Journalists' Club is of great importance for the "civilian initiative" of this trivet, a significant hint that we have reached our goal. We gave satisfying answers to various questions on the present and future of Turkey-Russia ties, as well as on the truth behind the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). We explained Turkey's transition into diplomatic realism as a means to break free of tutelage and also on the transition from a West-dependent political economy to a rising star in its region of more than 100 participants.
We emphasized our determination to move into a new era of sincerity, transparency and mutual trust from on-table diplomacy. We also stressed our goal of managing an enriched economy and to promote trade diplomacy built on service sectors, such as energy, transportation, logistics, retail and finance. Russian professors and journalists agreed with our sentiments and stated that they are demanding the necessary steps for the strengthening of relations, the integration of the two countries' interests and the future of Eurasia. Stating that we have reached the point where we can solve occasional issues between Turkey and Russia without mediators, our Russian colleagues highlighted that the rapprochement of Turkey and Russia substantially contributes to the economy and peace of the region and that it is a mutually desired process.
Preparation for the 'World Disorder'
The global political economy awaits an era where the order collapses and irregularity and chaos will reign. Turkey has expectations of Russia regarding national security and the fight against terrorism. Preventing the PKK and its affiliated groups, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the People's Protection Units (YPG), having a say in Syria's future is a priority in our bilateral relations. In the case that we can succeed in creating an important theme and a common interest area, the Russian side has demanded a Eurasia Union. Before President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's critically important trip to Russia, we witnessed a first-hand opportunity for a transition from a "geographic competition" to a "strategic alliance."
At this point, we are entering a critical process in terms of the European Union in creating, or the inability to create, a common security and foreign policy strategy. Germany is working hard to recoup the discrepancies for the EU's future in the post-Brexit world. However, Chancellor Merkel's "examination" at the general elections this year is challenging her to generate strategies for the EU's future. On top of that, the elections in France and in the Netherlands are raising doubts. Another critical issue for the EU's future is security. Last week, we mentioned that the heavy arms trade has diminished by 36 percent in Europe and that the matter has been heavily criticized by U.S. President Donald Trump as Europe's weakness in defense. A statement affirming these evaluations came from High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. Mrs. Mogherini expressed that Europe needs to move forward on common defense and foreign policy issues and pointed to the Brussels meeting of the EU's Defense and Foreign Affairs Ministers on Monday.
Common security and tax problems for the EU
Mogherini pressed on the extreme right that has turned Europe into a target, by not mentioning names, and stated that the best answer to crises going on in the EU would be strengthening the union, not using harsh criticism in countries where critical elections will be held. Europe's problems are not confined to security. Issues on common fiscal and tax policies should not be disregarded. The European Union's Term President and Malta's Finance Minister Edward Scicluna made it public that they have agreed on a draft of regulatory rules on hybrid mismatches that are defined as the legal loopholes between the tax systems of the European Union member countries and the non-member countries used by companies for tax evasion.
The U.S. headquartered global companies such as Apple, Amazon, Google and Starbucks were subject to tax investigations by the European Union Commission regarding allegations of unfair tax advantages. Britain, which will begin its negotiations to leave the European Union, has a positive approach to tax advantages and was also mentioned during the EU Commission's meeting. Britain's Finance Minister Philip Hammond stated last month that if Britain's access to the European Union market is not guaranteed, its economic model can be transformed to become the tax haven of Europe. It seems that 2017 will be an important threshold for the EU.
About the author
Kerem Alkin is an economist, professor at Istanbul Medipol University. He currently serves as the Turkish Permanent Representative to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).