Not Just China and Russia, US Ally Turkey Says “Many Question” Biden Democracy Summit

While the main rivals of the United States, China and Russia, have been at the forefront of international criticism of President Joe Biden’s Democracy Summit, which was held virtually among more than 100 countries earlier this month. , U.S. ally Turkey said many others expressed skepticism about the rally.

“The guest list suggests that political expediency has taken precedence over genuine democratic considerations,” the Turkish embassy in Washington said. News week. “Many wonder about the real motive behind the Summit.”

Ankara’s absence from the guest list of 111 participants has sparked controversy, with Turkey being a member of the NATO military alliance and the second-largest troop contributor behind the United States. Hungary was the only other NATO country omitted from the list and the only European Union country not to be invited, prompting Budapest to block joint EU representation at the event.

The Hungarian Embassy in Washington did not respond News weekrequest for comments. His Turkish counterpart defended Turkey’s democratic system.

“Turkey’s democratic credentials are beyond doubt,” the Turkish embassy said. “Its experience of direct democratic governance is older than most Western democracies.

“Like all true democracies,” the embassy said Turkey’s democracy is a “work in progress”.

About a week before the summit, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that “every democracy is a work in progress, and that doesn’t mean we are giving the opposite of a stamp. approval or negative stamp to people who are not invited. “

But Ankara nevertheless felt that this decision strained relations between two allies already at odds on several issues.

“Turkey’s omission for the summit is regrettable and does not fit with our common determination to avoid misunderstandings and advance our bilateral relations,” the Turkish embassy said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Joe Biden walk to a meeting during the G20 summit at Roma Convention Center La Nuvola on October 31 in Rome, Italy. Turkey’s absence from the Biden Democracy Summit held virtually December 9-10 further strained ties between allies Ankara and Washington.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP / Getty Images

Asked about removing Turkey and Hungary from the list, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Euronews a day after Psaki’s press conference that the event was a “Summit for democracy – not for democracies “.

“It is about renewing and reinvigorating democracies that are in many ways contested, in some cases from within, in others from outside,” Blinken said. “And so we are virtually bringing countries together to support the renewal of democracy at home and take concrete steps to do so, but also to see how we can further support democracies that are challenged around the world.”

America’s top diplomat spoke of a “democratic recession” across the world, saying that “one of the challenges and deep conflicts of our time is that between autocracies and democracies, and democracies must demonstrate that ‘they can deliver and produce real results for their people. “

Asked about US-Turkish relations in particular, Blinken said the two countries would continue to work together despite their disagreements.

“We have a very important relationship with Turkey. It is a NATO ally,” Blinken said. “And it’s no secret that we also have differences, but we are working across those differences. We are also working to deepen cooperation in many areas.”

“And we are committed to overcoming the differences that we have and to strengthening the alliance that we have as members of NATO,” he added.

Turkish politics have undergone a number of upheavals over the century since the Republic was founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Today, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has since established himself as the most powerful leader in the country.

Erdogan first came to power as Prime Minister in 2003 and ruled in that capacity until 2014 when he was elected president and then held a referendum to give more powers to the presidency, completely dissolving the post of Prime Minister. Erdogan’s tenure has seen ups and downs in relations with Washington, spanning four US administrations, but the Democracy Summit has come to a low point in relations, which have suffered in recent years by a number high profile issues.

In Syria, the two countries initially came together a decade ago to support an insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad, but the United States later shifted its support to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, a group the Turkey associates with banned Kurdistan workers. Party (PKK). The group is considered a terrorist organization by Ankara and Washington.

Regarding Russia, Turkey has not followed with the rest of President Vladimir Putin’s alienation from NATO and has chosen to purchase the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system. The acquisition resulted in US sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

Turkey has argued that it was forced to buy the S-400 when the United States refused to offer the Patriot anti-aircraft batteries.

“Turkey was forced to procure the S-400 systems in the absence of feasible alternative offers from its allies, including the United States,” the Turkish embassy said. “CAATSA’s unilateral sanctions against Turkey are unacceptable and unfair. These sanctions continue to damage our relationship. Allies should not resort to sanctions when they disagree. Instead, we should prioritize dialogue and diplomacy.

The embassy said: “We believe this is possible when there is political will,” offering examples of waivers from Germany’s sanctions for its participation in the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Europe and a waiver potential to CAATSA being considered for India’s purchase of the S-system 400.

“We will continue to engage constructively with the United States to reach a mutually acceptable settlement on this issue,” the embassy said.

Joe, Biden, Summit, Democracy
US President Joe Biden watches a video screen showing participants in the Democracy Summit as he delivers opening remarks in the South Court Auditorium December 9 in Washington, DC The invitation list included leaders from 110 countries and Taiwan, but not from China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey or a number of other influential nations.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The Democracy Summit’s guest list excluded a number of countries the United States has argued with, including China and Russia, as well as Belarus, Cuba, Myanmar, North Korea, Iran. , Syria and Venezuela.

But he also left out American partners such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam. The only Middle Eastern countries included were Iraq and Israel, while Central Asia was completely excluded with just under two-thirds of African countries. Pakistan, one of four South Asian countries on the guest list, was the only country to decline its invitation, while India, Maldives and Nepal were in attendance.

The divisions have been condemned by Beijing and Moscow in particular, whose envoys to Washington wrote a joint editorial last month in National interest criticize the event. Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin also alluded to the summit and big ideas for democracy during their virtual summit on Wednesday.

Xi “stressed that democracy is a high aspiration and a common value of all mankind and also a right enjoyed by the people of all countries,” according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

“Whether a country is democratic or not and how best to achieve democracy can only be left to its own people to decide. International affairs should be handled by all countries through consultations,” he said. added. “Promoting greater democracy in international relations and defending genuine multilateralism is the expectation of the people and the dominant trend of the time.”

Putin, for his part, said that China and Russia “act as responsible powers should” because they “defend a unifying international agenda against the pandemic and defend the true essence of democracy and human rights, this which makes it a real bastion of multilateralism. and a defender of international justice and equality, “according to the Kremlin.

Moscow’s point of view was further explained by Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov in a high-profile interview with News week Friday.

“No country has the right to judge who is ‘democratic’ and who is not,” Antonov said, adding that “the way to prosperity of nations is through respectful cooperation with each other, despite differences of view on particular issues “.

“That is why we urge to stop using” value-based diplomacy, “Antonov said.

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