Re­vi­tal­ized Er­do­gan seeks to bask in G20 glory

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

AN­TALYA, Tur­key: Boosted by an elec­tion vic­tory, Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan wants to use the G20 sum­mit to re­mind the world of his sta­tus as a global leader and consolidate his do­mes­tic pop­u­lar­ity. Com­men­ta­tors be­gan writ­ing Er­do­gan’s po­lit­i­cal obit­u­ary when his Is­lamic-rooted rul­ing party lost its out­right ma­jor­ity in June elec­tions for the first time since it swept to power over a decade ago. But the com­bat­ive Er­do­gan’s gam­ble on call­ing snap elec­tions for Nov 1 paid off hand­somely, with the Jus­tice and De­vel­op­ment Party (AKP) that he co-founded re­gain­ing its ma­jor­ity.

Just two weeks af­ter that tri­umph, Er­do­gan will roll out the red car­pet in the Mediter­ranean re­sort of An­talya on Sun­day for lead­ers of the world’s top 20 economies in­clud­ing US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, Xi Jin­ping of China and Vladimir Putin of Rus­sia. The tim­ing of the sum­mit just af­ter the elec­tions is the per­fect chance for Er­do­gan to show he is a key global player, in par­tic­u­lar in deal­ing with the con­flict in neigh­bour­ing Syria and the en­su­ing in­flux of 2.2 mil­lion refugees onto Turk­ish ter­ri­tory. It also al­lows him to play the role of ge­nial host and dampen crit­i­cism that his rule is creep­ing to­wards au­thor­i­tar­i­an­ism af­ter raids on crit­i­cal me­dia and ar­rests of op­po­nents. “This G20 sum­mit gives Er­do­gan the op­por­tu­nity to reaf­firm Tur­key as an es­sen­tial part­ner on the global scene,” said Si­nan Ul­gen, chair­man of the Is­tan­bul-based Cen­ter for Eco­nomics and For­eign Pol­icy Stud­ies (EDAM) and a vis­it­ing scholar at Carnegie Europe in Brussels. “He will for sure also take ad­van­tage of it per­son­ally to present him­self as a world leader, de­spite all the crit­i­cism of his more and more au­thor­i­tar­ian rule,” he told AFP.

‘Over­look Rights Record’ Tur­key has in re­cent years felt ag­grieved and even be­trayed by the West over Syria, com­plain­ing it has re­ceived no help in host­ing the refugees or in its aim to top­ple Pres­i­dent Bashar Al-As­sad. Er­do­gan, no­to­ri­ously hot-tem­pered in pri­vate, has taken such dis­ap­point­ments as a per­sonal slight and will be ex­pect­ing Tur­key’s po­si­tion to be taken fully into ac­count at its G20. Er­do­gan will look for prom­ises that the West is still com­mit­ted to oust­ing As­sad, de­spite Rus­sia’s air cam­paign to bol­ster his regime. — AFP

— AP

IS­TAN­BUL: Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan and Ja­pan’s Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe shake hands be­fore a meet­ing yes­ter­day.

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