“The annoying Erdogan show” is the title of today’s article in the online edition of Der Spiegel magazine on Muslim prayer taking place in Hagia Sophia today. The columnist notes that the Turkish president lives up to this reputation as an “experienced populist,” who with all sorts of “magic” attempts to deal with the decline of his popularity.
“For Erdogan, the reuse of the historic building as a mosque is an important symbolic act. In this way, he is able to present himself as a decisive leader and defender of the interests of the particularly religious and/or nationalist Turk,” the German magazine reports and points out that many Turks at the same time, especially in secular Constantinople, will shake their heads at the Erdogan show while asking themselves why the Turkish president does not use his time to deal with the COVID-19 crisis or the starving Turkish economy.
“Meanwhile, Erdogan’s dispute over gas deposit in the eastern Mediterranean is escalating,” Der Spiegel reports, noting that French President Emanuel Macron had called for new European sanctions against Turkey. “He wants to stop Erdogan’s plans to secure gas deposits for Turkey, which are said to be between the islands of Cyprus and Crete. These deposits are in fact claimed by Greece, the author emphasizes and quotes a relevant statement by President Macron: “I fully support Cyprus and Greece in relation to the Turkish violations of their sovereignty.”
The article concludes with a reference to the situation that prevails in the last days near Kastelorizo and the possible role of Chancellor Angela Merkel. “In Berlin, it is said that Chancellor Merkel wants to mediate in the dispute. She already knows how it is done. If the chancellor was able to bill Erdogan for the many hours she had spent with him in mediation of all kinds, she would be a rich woman —and he would go bankrupt,” Der Spiegel reported.