Turkey – Draghi’s “Italietta” challenges Erdoğan. Excuse me. Draghi, who?

Erdoğan dictator? The Italian Draghi’s slip-up unveils the weak solidarity ties among NATO countries. Perhaps, the Atlantic Alliance does not have its foundations in democracy. But the charge does not come from the United States. A proxy statement?

by Glauco D’Agostino

The case has significant geopolitical traits, even though it is diplomatically negligible by itself and remediable across respective clarifications and summoning of Ambassadors. The cautious Italy of the past, which could reconcile a membership in a strict military alliance with its Euro-Mediterranean vision, changes pace and does so in the most blatant way, not fitting diplomacy. When a new President takes office in Washington and resulting international policies enforce to the allies, it does not mean one can clash at once with new identified “enemies”, mostly if they, paradoxically, are part of the same military coalition. In this case, Turkey, which has the second most mighty NATO army after the United States.

But Mario Draghi’s new “Italietta” intends to be more royal than the King. Thus, the new Italian Prime Minister, not even elected to Parliament and in office due to his Nobel Prize-worthy technical curriculum, defined as a dictator a head of state who for more than twenty years has brought democracy again to a country that before used to deem a coup as a normal exercise of power. At that time, our Draghi was keeping accounts as a good administrator in the financial state offices. And so he continued with world-class financial institutions as well, including the excellent service at the European Central Bank. What can he know about Turkey history and, above all, Italian history and geopolitical interests, if not looking at them from the point of view of balancing the short-term accounts? He went so far as to accuse Erdogan of dictatorial behaviour. Yet, according to his idea of diplomacy, you can sweet this actual blunder when realising that yes, after all, this relationship to the dictator has some benefit. Thus by launching a not so new concept that the democracy value stops where utility advises overlooking.

Erdoğan with Putin and Berlusconi at the opening of the Blue Stream Gas Pipeline in November 2005 (Presidential Press Service)

And the European People’s Party, of which the Polish Donald Franciszek Tusk is President, through its leader in the European Parliament Manfred Weber, says that “Draghi is right, under Erdogan, Turkey has drifted far away from basic freedoms and democracy.” Perhaps, the EPP should turn its gaze to what is happening in Donald Tusk’s illiberal and euro-sceptical Poland before taking on the moraliser role on duty. We are sure the Italian Antonio Tajani, EPP’s Vice President, is well aware of this. But realpolitik advises prudence and neutrality since he grants pragmatic supports to the government of the clumsy Draghi along with a popular front from the right-wing to the extreme parliamentary left-wing. Actually, even those who call themselves right-wing opposition align with Draghi’s overwhelming power because, perhaps, not to oppose too much is advisable. You never know.

A few days ago, President Draghi was visiting Libya, welcomed by the interim Prime Minister ʿAbdul Hamid Moḥammed Dbeibah. In Libya, “Italian companies, Eni in the lead, have since been involved in the medium and long term,” [translation from Italian] as reported by “Il Sole 24 Ore” yesterday. On March 15th, Al Jazeera noted that “Dbeibah is also known to be supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood and is close to Turkey.” Who knows what the Libyan Prime Minister thinks of Draghi’s utterances about Erdoğan. And, sure, at Eni, someone winced, someone else jumped for joy. Also because the Italian oil company, allegedly more influential than Palazzo Chigi on an international level, has to take into account the Italian interests in Egypt, as well. And incidentally, there, in Cairo, Palazzo Chigi perhaps sees sitting as President a champion of democracy and “basic freedoms”, to quote Weber. Poor Regeni!

If this so, imprudent “Italietta” at the pandemic would do well to cool its fluster. Keeping counts is not enough. Mostly, saying slogans (however badly successful) is not enough to lead a nation into the complicated international dimension, especially when attacking an ally. It may be dangerous.

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