G20: A little economic, a little political - ÖZLEM ALBAYRAK

G20: A little economic, a little political

We are together with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Hangzhou for the G20 summit hosted by China this year. President Erdoğan is joined by ministers Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Nihat Zeybekci, Berat Albayrak and Mehmet Şimşek, Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Deputy Mehdi Eker, National Intelligence Organization (MİT) chief Hakan Fidan, Adviser to Treasury Osman Çelik, Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) President Rıfat Hisarcıklıoğlu and TÜRK-İŞ Secretary-General Ergun Atalay.

The city is hot and humid, but clean and well-ordered at the same time. As all the routes to the G20 have been closed off, it is nearly impossible for us and all the other attendees to come across a local in the city of 9 million people. There is an artificial desolateness everywhere we pass through…

It hadn't even been 24 hours after we landed when we started to receive good news. One is Energy Minister Albayrak briefing the journalists on the four new energy agreements Turkey made. You can read the details regarding the article in today's Yeni Şafak, but I should say that it is rather exciting to know that the Edirne-Kars train line, which will be used to link the modern Silk Road between Beijing and London, will be completed shortly. It is pleasing to know that the Energy Ministry's strategies are planned for the many years to come, not for the next year or the next election alone.

Today, President Erdoğan first met Chinese President Xi Jinping and they signed several agreements between the two countries. At this point I would like to remind that the Chinese deputy secretary of state visited Turkey after the failed coup attempt in a show of solidarity and met with senior officials discussing the country's latest issues, bilateral relations and mutual issues between the two countries.

The details of the meeting between Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin were not yet known at the time I was writing this column. It was forecasted that the meeting would take place at 10:15 p.m. Hangzhou time. But it is certain that the meeting between the two leaders would be rather friendly, since, on the night of the July 15 coup attempt, Putin stated his support for Turkey and Erdoğan before waiting to see which side would win. The meeting on Euphrates Shield, the operation Turkey conducted on Daesh and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, is also expected to be a successful discussion.

As for the meeting between Erdoğan and U.S. President Barack Obama, which is on Obama's agenda and was announced by the U.S. administration: As everyone knows, the G20 is a summit based mainly on global economy, yet, it is not difficult to project that their one-on-one meetings with Erdoğan will have a political nature and the meeting with Obama is one of these.

The attitude displayed by the U.S. administration during the July 15 coup attempt is a disappointment on its own. But this is not the only disappointment the U.S. has created for Turkey. There are many issues from the divergence on the YPG issue to their sluggishness on the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) issue.

Yes, Obama is now a “lame duck,” but he will now feel obliged to personally explain “friend ally” U.S.'s approach after – without U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. Let's wait and see what happens…


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