Turkish President Has Lost Faith In Both Israel And Syria

In the interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung, Turkish president Abdullah Gül reveals secret talks, which ultimately failed, to resolve the diplomatic dispute with Israel. He also said days are numbered for the Syrian regime. Gül added that Turkey still wants

Turkish president Abdullah Gül
Turkish president Abdullah Gül
Christiane Schlötzer and Kai Strittmatter


President Abdullah Gül says Turkey no longer trusts Benjamin Netanyahu's government. Recent relations between Ankara and Jerusalem have gone from bad to worse, as Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador because of his government's refusal to apologize for the death of nine Turkish activists on the Gaza aid ship Mavi Marmara in May 2010.

In an exclusive interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung, Gül also revealed that there had been several rounds of secret talks between Ankara and Jerusalem to try and settle the issue. But, he said, every time some sort of agreement looked as if it might be reached, Israel switched positions. Gül stressed that Turkey "has no problem with the Israeli people," only with the government.

With regard to the violence in Syria, Gül stated that Turkey had given up hope that President Bashar al-Assad would tackle reforms. The days of the authoritarian regime are numbered, he added, and it pained him that so many people in Syria were killed. Concerning the successful overthrows in the Arab world and in North Africa, Gül said: "We enthusiastically support these revolutions." The president said that Turkey's democratic standards could also serve as a source of inspiration for states in transition.

Making Europe a front runner again

Gül gave assurances that Turkey, despite its commitment to the Middle Eastern countries in transition, wished now as before to become an EU member. He hoped that more Europeans would see that "Turkey would not be a burden on the Union." On the contrary: with its strong economy, Turkey could help make "Europe a front runner again." Gül stressed that Turkey "could offer a positive contribution."

Gül expressed disquiet at the serious crisis in neighboring Greece. Turkish tourists visiting Greece were helping Greece's economy, and Turkey was willing to do more to help Greece, Gül said.

On his state visit to Germany, which begins Sunday, Gül said that he didn't want to limit his visit to Berlin -- visits to high tech companies in Baden-Württemberg have also been planned. "When we look at Europe today," said Gül, "we see that there are actually only two upward-striving countries: Germany and Turkey." The two countries should thus work closely together in research, technology and economically in the future, he said.

"No longer appropriate"

Gül was critical of the fact that Turks visiting Germany still need a visa, while Germans traveling to Turkey do not. "In view of close ties between our countries, that's no longer appropriate," he said. A number of Balkan countries had recently secured EU visa waivers, he pointed out.

According to the Turkish president, if Germany wants to hold on to its strong economy and prosperity it has to continue to open up. "It's a fact that the population in Germany is shrinking." Meanwhile, increasing numbers of young Turks who've received good educations in Germany are returning to the country of their parents and grandparents -- and that trend could continue. The visa issue was damaging the economies of both countries, Gül said.

Read the original article in German

Photo - WEF

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!

A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!