Relations between Turkey and Europe deteriorate after disputes with the Netherlands

Turkey’s relationship with Europe has weakened during the weekend after Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish president, blamed the Dutch government of being Nazi and Turkish politicians were banned from a political event in the Netherlands.

While this month German officials have been criticized for forbidding Turkish campaigns to vote yes to the referendum which would expand Erdogan’s powers, the Dutch government impeded the landing of the Turkish foreign minister and escorted the Turkish family minister out of the country.

The government of Netherlands, which has generally considered an open approach to face different attitudes, is in the middle of an assertive election campaign that has immigration as the primary issue.

Elsewhere in Europe, countries such as Denmark, Sweden, France, Switzerland or Austria have backed the decision taken by the Dutch government and made it clear that Erdogan’s campaign is unwelcome there.

Italy plunged into political chaos

After the referendum celebrated last Sunday with the aim of changing the Italian constitution Matteo Renzi is resigning as prime minister. The defeat of the “no” vote has been marked by a victory for anti-establishment and rightwing parties and has thrown the third largest economy of the European Union into a sharp political uncertainty.

The defeat was not unexpected but it was nevertheless more significant than estimated, with 59.1% of Italians voting against the proposed reforms, which would have made extensive changes to Italy’s constitution and parliamentary system.

The 20-point margin has signified a major victory for the populist Five Star Movement, which led the Italian opposition to the reform, and the Northern League. These parties are not precisely traditional allies but joined to oppose Renzi with the aim of driving him out of office.

The victory for “no” could have serious consequences for Italy and could disconcert European and global markets due to worries about the country’s economic future and support of populist and Eurosceptic parties.

The new government’s immediate task will be to pass a change in the electoral law that will make it more laborious for either the Five Star Movement or the Northern League to win strong majorities in the parliament in the following elections.

New peace deal for Colombia

After more than 52 years of war and six weeks since the original deal was rejected in a referendum, the government of Colombia and the FARC rebels have agreed on a revised peace deal in which proposals from the opposition have been incorporated.

The government has not mentioned holding a second plebiscite to approve the deal yet, although some opposition figures have already demanded one. Copies of the new peace agreement will be made public next Sunday.

The new deal will not change a controversial part which gives the FARC 10 congressional seats through 2026 or stop rebel leaders from being elected to political posts. Nevertheless, the peace agreement will not be integrated into Colombia’s constitution and the rebel group will be required to present a complete record of its capital proprieties, which will be destined for compensation of victims. Moreover, it specifies that the FARC must turn in exhaustive information about its involvement in the drug trade.

All in all, former president Alvaro Uribe, who led opposition to the previous peace deal, is not satisfied with the modified deal.

Uncertainty governs Colombia

The historical peace deal that the President Juan Manuel Santos and the country’s largest rebel group’s leader Rodrigo Londoño “Timochenko” had signed days before has been defeated by Colombians in a referendum yesterday, throwing the country into sudden confusion about its future.

With counting concluded from 98.98% of polling stations, the “no” vote won by 50.2% to 49.8%, a difference of fewer than 54,000 votes. The verdict on the peace deal between the government and the FARC, achieved after four years of intense negotiations, means it cannot be now implemented.

After publishing the results, Santos said he would send his negotiators back to Havana to meet with FARC leaders today, adding that he would continue seeking peace until the last of his presidency. Moreover, he will also meet with all political parties in order to find a way to achieve the final peace process.

The FARC leader, on the other hand, claimed that the insurgent group would maintain its desire for peace, reiterating its disposition to “use only words as weapon to build toward the future”.

Although the bilateral ceasefire that has been in place since 29 August will continue, there is a high uncertainty on how the peace process will proceed and what steps need to be taken from now on in order to maintain social and political stability in the country.