Original published on Epikaira Magazine issue 115 pages 70-73, 29/12/2011 to 04/01/2012:
Original on line (now dead) http://www.epikaira.gr/epikairo.php?id=36491&category_id=0Pro-Turkey Mr Bildt
And archived here for posterity: http://archive.today/D2yXC
By Sotiris Sideris
Cynic, “” aggressive, “” ironic, “” rowdy, “” anti-Greek “,” pro-Turkish “…
These are only some of the labels that have been attached to the Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt by Greek diplomats, consultants and experts, but also the entire diplomatic corps of the Republic of Cyprus, when they listen to him unleashing insults against Athens and Nicosia in the EU Council of Ministers, in statements and interviews and, at the same time, to be identified entirely with Turkish policy. It is the ultimate symbol of pro-Turkish policy in the European Union.
The issue is not as simple as it seems, and there are other foreign officials who support the Turkish positions. The difference with all others is that Bildt, the last five years, has created a separate organization to support Turkish interests, the “Friends of Turkey”, which includes Sweden, naturally England, Spain, Italy and Finland that often meet and plan their activities about Cyprus – and recently the subject of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, siding with Gruevski. His involvement in Skopje [FYROM], especially in the very high tones he adopted, provoked many questions and was attributed largely to his arrogance, as he considers himself a top international player with ’empathy’ towards Greece.
Bildt’s activities have given rise to a orgy of rumors about the reasons that led him to become a fanatic supporter of Turkish foreign policy, a “political mercenary” in the service of Ankara, according to an expression of a diplomat, coming into conflict even with the Swedish Parliament when it recognized the Armenian genocide. Rumors and reports in the Swedish press for economic interests linking Bildt and Turkey are many, but none of these rumours seems to inhibit him. Maybe because no one ever investigated the truth and the possible interlinking of public policy making and economic interests in a fully functioning state, like Sweden.
Bildt’s activities escalate year after year . Mainly from late 2009 onwards, but increasingly more often he is reportedly involved in hardcore [anti-Hellenic] episodes and verbal expressions for example at General Affairs Council of the EU. In the latter, on December 6, 2011, he insisted to record the conclusions that the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is ready to start accession negotiations, carrying out at the same time with Turkey an attack against Greece. This happened only a few hours after the publication of the decision of the Hague Tribunal for the name dispute between Greece – FYROM. Bildt’s failure to bring about a decision to open accession negotiations with FYROM’s EU led him to tactically retreat. Instead, he threatened that “soon we’ll see …”.
It all started in September 2007, when in New York Bildt and the representatives of those countries partaking in “the Friends of Turkey” got together to “squeeze” the Republic of Cyprus, giving rise to the creation of a common front in favour of Turkey. This meeting caused legitimate concern in Athens and Nicosia, as the Greek side was still under pressure from the rejection of the Annan Plan and the effort to recognise the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” with new initiatives. These meetings were ongoing and during the second half of 2009 the imminent assumption of the EU presidency from Sweden, was on the cards . The first cause for red alert was when Carl Bildt, in an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, in a crescendo of pro-Turkish rhetoric , said: “The EU can not consider Cyprus, an island off the coast of Syria, a European country and at the same time not to do the same for Turkey. ”
The Swedish Presidency tried to unblock some chapters in the accession negotiations of Turkey, Bildt went to Ankara, did what he could, but the critical EU session was yet to happen, and there, Bildt, assisted by other “Friends of Turkey” would have free hand. It was the first summit for the then Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, who wanted the Greek-Turkish and Skopje issues to be resolved at the General Affairs Council on 7 December 2009, and not go to the European Summit, as Greece was already in the eye of the storm because of economic crisis.
In the General Affairs Council, however, there was … Hell to be paid. Diplomats who attended closely the meeting’s developments noted that the Swedish presidency desperately wanted to achieve results at all costs, which, however, did not appear on the horizon. Recalling the memory of that meeting, one of them says: “incredible insults were launched against Greece and Cyprus by Bildt and Miliband, the British Foreign Minister. The then Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Droutsas, trying to keep low tones, noted that the Greek government is unable to consent to opening more chapters as Turkey persists in the same positions. Miliband, swearing, got up and left the room in anger and Bildt stated plainly, swearing at Droutsas and Greece, that the Official Meeting Conclusions will not be finalised and that the matter will go to the summit. Then ministers from other countries intervened, with the French trying to calm the atmosphere, something that they achieved after two hours … red at the face by anger, Bildt was forced to conclude the Council’s official conclusions without achieving to opening more chapters for Turkey’s EU accession. ”
A year later, in September 2010, he attacked the Republic of Cyprus and France, stressing that the two countries’s inhibiting the European course of Turkey was unacceptable: “It is of course fundamentally unacceptable that countries for their own political reasons, hinder the integration process: This is contrary to the European spirit, “said Bildt, who obviously has not realized anything of what has happened in Cyprus in the last thirty seven years and which, of course, not only opposed but break down the Spirit of Europe.
Bildt’s perceptions of Justice enshrined in Law led to a storm in the European Parliament. On the 21 July 2009 when Bildt was presenting the program of the Swedish EU Presidency and answering a question from the French MEP Dominique Bontis on how he [the Swedish Presidency] is thinking of reacting to Turkish celebrations for the anniversary of the invasion and occupation of part of the land of EU member state, he said: “The events in Cyprus should be placed and understood in the historical context of the time. And the Turkish intervention was the result of the behavior of the junta of the colonels in Greece. ” With this placement, many judged that Bildt passed definitively into the anti-Greek camp. With such statements one easily understands that morality in Europe becomes blunt and Justice enshrined in Law is not the spearhead of European civilization, but a matter of choice. If the Law suits us then we support it, if not we by-pass it. Bildt knows nothing about the Cyprus missing persons of 1974 nor the Turkish settlers nor the Turkish military occupation nor of the confiscation of assets, nothing. It was the first time a representative of the democratic and sensitive for the protection of human rights Sweden, took such a position.
In March 2010, Bildt sang another concert for Turkey this time within his own country. On March 13, the Swedish Parliament recognized the genocide of Armenians, Pontic Greeks, the Chaldeans, the Syrians and Assyrians and Bildt was downcast. In a statement describes as “unfortunate” the recognition of the genocide, adding that “the politicization of history serves no one!”.
Regarding Financial Interests…
There have been many reports in the Cypriot and Swedish press about financial interests linking Bildt and Turkey, that for many explain the largely pro-Turkish attitude of Swedish FM.
According to the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Bildt was involved in investments in Turkey through a Swedish fund, the East Capital, which the Swedish minister has-or had-in a direct or indirect way personal funds. According to a report by the Foreign Ministry of Sweden, dated 27 October 2006, Mr. Bildt had distributed his shares of East Capital, which reaches 1,818,219 billion Swedish Krona; corresponding to 192,565,578 euros in three- levels: First, East Capital Explorer, 1.526.003 SEK (Swedish Krona). Second, East Capital Investment Fund for the Balkans, 275,791 million SEK. Third, East Capital for Turkey, 16,425 million SEK.
But, according to the publication; the funds of the Investment Fund for Turkey were also absorbed by a company of the Turkish army. Mr. Bildt was responsible for advertising the benefits of investing in Turkey. And did so successfully. Among the agreements he promoted, included this company of the Turkish army.
According to published data, this investment reached 11.4% of total investment fund of the East Capital to Turkey and relates to the Turkish company Adana Cimento. This company is owned by Waco (Ordu Yardimlasma Kurumu), namely the Turkish Armed Forces Pension Fund (Pension Fund for the Armed Forces). Bildt resigned from the East Capital Fund on October 21, 2006, fifteen days after his appointment to the State Department, but the criticism of the press was very tough against Bildt. In the newspaper Expressen, investments in the company of the Turkish army described as “bloody shares”. And given this designation because it is claimed that those who run the Turkish company Adana Cimento financed twelve members of the Turkish secret police accused of torture and murder of eight dissident Kurds, including the authors Musa Anter.
The labyrinthine Bildt investment activity can be clarified only by the Swedish justice system -if there ever such event-but the Greek authorities have every interest to investigate what exactly is true.
Back to Bildt’s political activity in 2011. The essentially “frozen” EU-Turkish relations and the issue of Skopje [FYROM] have kept the Swedish officer busy several times both through meetings of the “Friends of Turkey” as well as through the official meetings in and out of EU institutions. There were two “Friends of Turkey” meetings, one was held in October, shortly before the publication of the European Commission’s progress report on Turkey, and another before the Summit in December.
In the meetings a framework for action was agreed to counteract their concerns of Cyprus taking over the EU Presidency, in the second half of 2012. It is understood that behind every deliberation, decision or initiative is Britain. According to diplomatic sources, the five countries and the Commissioner of the Directorate for EU Expansion Stefan Fule, who was present at the first meeting and who, in violation of its mission-who should comply with European standards-supports almost uncritically Turkey’s accession course, were planning to take the initiative to restart negotiations for Turkey – EU accessions by opening some chapters. The most important is that the five countries will push and will seek more allies-are already moving in this direction-in order to press the Republic of Cyprus to make more concessions to accommodate Turkish demands. If their efforts fail then they will blame the Greek Cypriot side and proceed in recognising the Turkish Cypriot entity.
Greek diplomats stress the importance of these actions for the Greek national interests, noting that persistence and perseverance have led Bildt to integrate his views the the official foreign policy of Sweden, and he is gaining ground in the EU itself. If, as Bildt and friends in Germany and France expect, the social democrats and socialists take power in the respective countries, their task will become easier. In this light, the Greek foreign policy has lost its footing in the matter, as it has not managed to destabilize the political influence of Bildt and his team. The strange thing is that in this group are countries like Spain and Italy, which theoretically have common interests with Greece in many areas, but the Greek policy has failed to distract from the hostile attitude towards our country [in this matter]. A new and serious problem for Greek foreign policy and the interests of the country is ahead of us.
Published in the journal Epikaira: 29/12/2011