Europe has to say goodbye to Turkey

Europe’s Turkey policy has been derailed since a couple of years. In 2004 the famous far-right politician, Geert Wilders was expelled from the decent Dutch Liberal Party (VVD) because he refused to endorse Turkey as a European Member state. The European establishment cross the board pursued the ideal of a large European Union including Turkey, disregarding the opinion of the European population at large.
Since then, much has been changed. After the Gezi protests and the closure of Twitter and YouTube in Turkey, the European mood switched completely. Given the current political situation in Turkey, EU’s leadership, Mr. Junker and Mr. Schulz do not want Turkey to join the EU anymore. Only the UK is a staunch supporter of Turkey’s EU membership, an other sign that London wants to crumble the EU from within.

The elections in Turkey in June revived some hope in Brussels. Brussels elite saw the entrance of the the Kurdish HDP as a positive sign that the Turkey democratization process will be restored. HDP leader Demirtas was already dubbed the Turkish Obama by the European press. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Enlargement, saw the fact that the election took place with a record 86 percent turnout as “clear sign of strength of the Turkish democracy.” Continue reading

Did Microsoft throw its credibility under the bus by investing in UBER?

Microsoft is investing heavily in its clouds services. Companies and governments have to hand over their most valuable and sensitive assets to Microsoft. For organisations, it is not only important to know in which jurisdiction Microsoft cloud services operate, but it is also important to know Microsoft’s corporate values in regard to local rules and laws with respect to privacy and confidentiality. Microsoft’s 100 million investment in UBER shows Microsoft’s contempt for the rule of law and local regulations. Something one could not ignore when considering the use of Microsoft cloud services.  

There has been a lot of discussion about the disruptive company UBER. The image of the company is carefully framed as a rebellious start up from California. With 9 billion in cash investments, the company is part of the big US corporate family. UBER is definitely not a small rebellious startup.
It is naive to believe that the company started a disruptive service without realising, it will run into problems with local law enforcement. Before 9 billion cash is invested, investors know the business model, including the legal challenges and implications. The UBER business model is based on deliberately undermining the rule of law and tax evasion, investors and business owners are absolutely aware of this before they pour 9 billion into the company.
The company proclaimed that it has a very efficient model of ride sharing, we used to call hitch hiking. In reality the company exploits a world wide network of illegal taxi services, based on tax and local transportation law dodging. Continue reading

Euro area unemployment rate at 11.1%

Unemployment in the single currency area differ sharply between member countries.  According to Eurostat, Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal have a youth unemployment rate between 30% and 50%, while countries like Germany, the Netherlands and Austria have a youth unemployment rate below 15%. There is some labor mobility in the Euro area but language, cultural differences and differences in insurance are still a barrier.

The overall unemployment rate in the Euro area is 11.1%. The euro area lacks a common fiscal policy, it also lacks a common unemployment insurance program and a common economic policy to address regional differences. A whole generation of Europeans will be wasted as a result of the high youth unemployment.

A common policy to address the current problems, implies a common European budget with a separate European Parliament that is solely dedicated to the euro area.



Has the US finished the trap Assad set for Turkey?

The US-Syrian policy forces Ankara to walk a fine line between ISIS, the Assad’s regime, the US, the Kurds and their own interests. We are not ruling out that Erdoğan could declare a state of emergency and postpone new elections. Whatever the result of the power struggle in Ankara may be, Turkey’s military will not accept that the YPG and PKK are armed to the teeth by the US.

From the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Turkey and the US supported the insurgency against Assad. Turkey formed a safe haven and provided weapons to groups that have later evolved into ISIS. The US started to organize “Friends of Syria” conferences to support the insurgency in Syria. At these conferences, not only Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lectured Putin on his Middle-East policy, but money was also collected for Jihadists now known as ISIS.

Security analysts who were not blinded by US and European propaganda have already noticed that the Kurds are a hurdle in the chosen strategy. The Kurds did not side with the FSA and the “Friends of Syria” show. They have been engaged in deadly clashes with the US-Turkey backed Jihadists. Kurdish leaders have already been slaughtered by the FSA in 2012. The so called “Friends of Syria” conference in Cairo ended in a brawl between Kurds and Jihadists.

During this period, the relation between Turkey and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Northern Iraq, improved dramatically. Former BP CEO Tony Hayward visited Erbil and advised the KRG  to build a direct oil pipeline to Turkey, bypassing Iraq’s pipes, enabling the Kurds to export Kurdish oil directly via Turkish port of Ceyhan. The good business relation between Barzani, the prime minister of the KRG  and Erdoğan’s government limited the freedom for the PKK to operate from Northern Iraq.

Under Assad, the PKK had no opportunity to operate from Syria. In 1998, Turkey threatened to invade Syria as a result of the PKK’s staged attacks from Kurdish Syrian areas. Since then, Damascus reined in the Kurds and stopped the PKK operating from Syria, preventing further escalation between Ankara and Damascus.

Assad had (and still has) little power to retaliate against the US-Turkey support for the Jihadist insurgents against his regime. Assad understood that the Kurds in Syria could spoil the fragile Kurdish peace process in Turkey. In 2012 he granted the Kurds in Syria autonomy to retaliate against Turkey. Back then he could not foresee how great this move was, thanks to the rogue and unreliable US policy in the Middle East. Continue reading

Pro Kiev militias are an existential threat to Ukraine’s ruling oligarchs

This week Ukraine’s police has been engaged in heavy fighting with nationalist militias in Mukacheve, near the Hungarian border. Ukrainian nationalist militias see the pro Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine as the their enemy, but they also despise the ruling oligarchic elite that is still in charge in Ukraine. Most of the pro Ukrainian fighters, like the AZOV battalion, in East Ukraine want to get rid of the current government that still consists of the same elite that mismanaged and has plundered Ukraine for more than two decades.

The political landscape in Ukraine is divided in three groups:

The pro Russian separatists who have a close economic, military and political  relation with Russia are fighting a war against different irregular Militias that have been brought under the umbrella organisation in April 2014, now known as the Ukrainian National Army.

The second group is the most powerful political force in Ukraine, it is made up of the ruling oligarchs that have been mismanaging Ukraine since its independence in 1992. After the Orange revolution and the 2014 Maidan protest the same oligarchs, like Poroshenko, who have ruled Ukraine for more than two decades are still in power. The bloody Maidan protest did not broaden the political base and legitimacy of Ukrainian political system.  The “Yalta European Strategy Conference” and “Pinchuk Foundation” are the platforms used by the oligarchs to discuss their policies for their businesses and Ukraine. These political platforms and organisations are established to discuss Ukraine’s future between Ukrainian oligarchs. These platforms do not have any participants from the Ukrainian working class and are a great example of how the Ukrainian political future is shaped by the arguments and fights between oligarchs among each other. The “Yalta European Strategy conference” and “Pinchuk Foundation” are uniting the Ukrainian oligarchs like Yanukovich, Yatsenyuk, Kuchma and Poroshenko with western business and political leaders like Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Richard Branson. Continue reading

A Greek exit will establish Berlin as the new geopolitical player to reckon with

If European Monetary Authorities could prevent a Lehman moment in case Greece has to leave the Euro we expect the euro to surge the coming months. Greece exiting the European Monetary Union will establish Berlin as the new geopolitical player to reckon with.

  • We noticed that the euro did not move since news from Greece went from bad to worse. The Greek referendum has even had a negative effect on the Dollar compared to the Japanese Yen.
  • Without Greece, the EMU forms a much tighter political and economical block.
  • It seems that markets are not able to push the Euro much lower.
  • If the ECB is able to manage a Greek exit, an EMU without Greece will strengthen the euro.
  • Greece exiting the EMU will be a victory for German elite and establish German dominance in the European Monetary Union.
  • A Greek exit will expose the relative weakness of the BRICS Bank versus European financial institutions like the EMU. The BRICS Bank fund will not be sufficient to rescue Greece. A BRICS bank not being able to help Greece will expose its relative weakness in comparison to the European financial institutions.

    Euro Dollar exchange rate since the Euro introduction in 2002

    It will be clear that only the ECB and the EMU have the financial capacity to solve problems of the magnitude of Greece.

  • If Germany does not save Greece, it will be a blow to the IMF that will render irrelevant as a paper tiger (紙老虎) unable to solve modern financial problems without the help of the European financial institutions. The IMF is not able to solve Greece’s financial problems and turned out to be ineffective in Ukraine, having an embarrassing tradition of failures in this country. A Greek exit will be a huge blow to the standing of the IMF.
  • Without Greece, Germany could concentrate on Ukraine, which has more value for Germany’s power elite.  Germany, Poland and Ukraine encompass an area of 160 Million inhabitants.
  • Germany will push the EMU in a continuous trade surplus creating a much higher demand for euros world wide. We do not believe the dollar can maintain its dominance by creating a continuous deficit.
  • A Greek exit will be evidence that the US and IMF influence on Berlin is waning.

We do not express our opinion on the validity of Germans policy nor the moral implication of the EMU policy.