The 2017 G-20 summit will take place in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7-8. The summit agenda includes several priorities, including sustainable development, financial market regulation, climate change, tax evasion, women's empowerment and cooperation with African nations.
It remains to be seen if the world's 20 leading economies can completely agree on the issues on the agenda and whether they can take joint steps to implement their decisions.
As a matter of fact, neither the hosts nor summit participants seriously believe that a consensus can be reached on any issue on the agenda. Perhaps they simply want to remember that they depend on each other. Hence, the main theme is "Shaping an Interconnected World".
It remains unclear whether the world's richest nations have the power to shape the world after all. But one must accept that G-20 countries, which are engaged in fierce competition, are simultaneously and inevitably interdependent. What happens in one country always affects the rest. This is globalization after all. Unfortunately, the German government appears to have mistaken interconnectedness to mean that whatever happens in the United States will also take place in Germany.
There are at least two cases in point. The first example relates to the upcoming trip by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan along with his bodyguards to Hamburg. You might recall that the U.S. issued arrest warrants for some members of Erdoğan's security detail, which means that the individuals in question cannot enter the United States again. Putting up a poster showing pictures of the security officers, however, is akin to treating Turkish officials like wanted terrorists.
Under European law, individuals who did not commit acts of terrorism on the continent are generally not considered terrorists. But the legal interpretation is relative, to say the least. As a matter of fact, individuals wanted in the United States can be considered unwanted aliens in Germany. In other words, German authorities appear to have assumed that the bodyguards will cause problems during their stay and, in a way, punished them before any crime has been committed, which is a common practice in counterterrorism.
Such actions, also known as preventive measures, are usually taken against terrorists. But Germany's commitment to prevention is not limited to Turkish bodyguards. Predicting that large protests will take place during the G-20 summit and hundreds of people will face arrest, German authorities reportedly spent more than 750,000 euros to set up makeshift courthouses in Hamburg to expedite judicial proceedings. According to media reports, up to eight cases can be heard by 130 judges who will work around the clock. The police will be able to arrest individuals citing their likelihood to engage in criminal acts.
The role of preventive measures during the G-20 summit can be considered as follows: Anti-Turkey protests will break out in Hamburg and Erdoğan's bodyguards will engage in them. Even if members of Erdoğan's security detail do not engage, the German police will predict that they might and arrest them on the spot. They will be taken into custody, appear before judges and those wanted by the Washington Police Department will be extradited to the United States. At the end of the day, the Turkish president will be left unprotected and protestors will keep shouting.