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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 14 May 2016
22 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 14 MAY 2016 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Turkish military bases in Cyprus President Anastasiades has finally succumbed and admitted to making political mistakes ANDREAS C. CHRYSAFIS Driving to Nicosia one is faced with a massive Turkish flag carved out of the Pendadaktilos mountainside to stare drivers in the eyes. Come nightfall the flag is brightly illuminated. What does such symbolism say to Greeks and visitors alike? Meanwhile, the Turks are opening the largest mosque in Europe in the city of Amsterdam, named Hagia Sophia - a Christian Greek name. It is modelled on the iconic Hagia Sophia in Constantinople and will turn the sacred symbol of Orthodoxy and Greek culture into a place of Muslim worship. This is in line with President Erdogan's dream and promises that he would turn the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople into a mosque. Turkey's behaviour is not surprising, but what is deplorable is that Ankara shuns the principle of democratic values and pretends to be a democracy when it suits. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made it quite clear, claiming that: "Democracy, freedom and the rule of law ... for us, these words have absolutely no value any longer." Yet, this nation wants to join the European Union; a union whose primary existence depends on holding democratic values in high esteem. When Turkey - the first Muslim nation - becomes a new member of the EU, under qualified majority voting (which roughly reflects the size of population of each member state), it would share a powerful EU decisionmaking influence well above many other member states. In preparation, the commission has already added Turkish as the 25th official working EU language. European Parliament President Martin Schulz, on his recent visit to Ankara, did not mince his words and praised Turkey for its cooperation on the refugee crisis. "I express our recognition for the generosity of Turkey in its hosting of Syrian refugees. The EU must support Turkey financially and through joint efforts," he stated. Ironically, he ignored Turkey's complicity in the ongoing human smuggling from its borders. President Erdogan, an autocrat to millions of people, rejects criticism, and even the Vatican has not escaped his fury. He described the EU and Pope Francis as part of an "evil front" that was hatching "plots" against Turkey. Only a mistrustful leader would come up with such ridiculous statements accusing the pope of collusion. However, nothing Ankara does or comments on is without a reason. It is a known fact that Erdogan's life-long ambition is to revive a neo-Ottoman Empire and name himself the ‘Great Sultan’ of 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide. The president has recently played host to a two-day summit in Istanbul, and 30 heads of Islamic states (out of 57) gathered to iron out political and theological differences. This was a perfect opportunity for Erdogan to pitch his qualifications to lead the Islamic world. "My religion is not that of Sunnis or Shiites. My religion is Islam," he advocated, attempting to use religion as the way to Islamic greatness. Not everyone was convinced. At the summit Erdogan also found the opportunity to urge his guests "to break the isolation of our Muslim brothers in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus", while his Prime Minister Ahmet Davudoglu called to "liberate all the Islamic lands under occupation", especially Palestine, Karabach and Crimea. Only President Putin stood up against Ankara and gave a blunt warning to Erdogan's military expansionist plans: "Should Turkey not stop supporting al-Qaeda's Syrian Branch, I am indeed eager to end the job the late Tsar Nicholas II left unfinished during WWI. He (the Tsar) sought to restore Constantinople to Christendom and protect Russian maritime security by liberating the Dardanelles and Bosporus straits but fate Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades. PHOTO: EPA/LAURENT DUBRULE.
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