Discourse change and the search for legitimacy

An interesting turning point is taking place in the Russia-Ukraine war. If we go back a little, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who started the war to invade Ukraine on February 24, 2022, claimed that the aim of the military operation was to ‘cleanse Ukraine from the Nazis’.

French President Emmanuel Macron had invited Western countries, especially the Baltic countries, which reacted to the “military intervention”, not to “humiliate Putin”. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that he did not want to suspend gas purchases from Russia and requested time from the allies in this regard. US President Joe Biden described Putin as a murderer, underestimated the possibilities and capabilities of the Russian army, and drew the framework of his military support to Ukraine with very clear and thick lines. Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Croo defended every day during the war that NATO and the EU, which he described as the Western community, should act as unity and support Ukraine.

Discourse change and the search for legitimacy

Putin’s ‘confession’

7 months have passed since February 24. 210 days later, Putin changed his rhetoric and tried to annex those regions to Russia by holding a ‘referendum’ in 4 regions that he partially occupied. He also repeated his nuclear threat to Western countries, especially NATO. Not to mention the partial mobilization announcement. Talking about the possibility of using nuclear weapons against the “nuclear threat that may come from Western countries” until yesterday, Putin changed his rhetoric.

The USA, the UK, Belgium, the Baltic states or Turkey have not changed their rhetoric since the start of the war. Ankara has legitimately armed Ukraine enough to defend its territorial integrity within its means, while on the other hand it has consistently reiterated its calls for diplomacy, ceasefire and peace. It also played an important role in the export of grain from Ukraine or the slave exchange between Kyiv and Moscow. These steps taken by Turkey have always been in the direction of reducing the tension and have never contradicted the rhetoric that has been expressed since the beginning of the war. Looking at war theories, Putin accepted that the war he started was not legitimate by actually changing his discourse, so he tried to legitimize his action.

time-saving effort

Peace is not yet on the horizon. Even a ceasefire is not on the agenda. Ukraine began to gain the upper hand against Russia. Putin, on the other hand, is trying to save the apparent. The United States has the opportunity to gradually increase its military support to Ukraine. Putin is trying to buy time. According to NATO sources, the partial mobilization announced by Putin will not be very effective. Because only 5% of 300 thousand soldiers will be able to form a true combat force. 6 months are needed for the training of other soldiers. Not to mention Putin’s ammunition problem. Autumn is not a good season for mechanized troops in Europe. During this rainy period, the maneuvering capabilities of the battleships are more limited.

The US controls the severity and course of the war in Ukraine well. It also continues its diplomatic efforts to increase the number of countries that take a stand against Russia. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met in New York with both the NATO Secretary General and his Ukrainian counterpart. In his meeting with Kulebay, he stated that China attaches importance to international law and Ukraine’s territorial integrity and declared that he does not recommend war. African Union President and Senegalese President Macky Sall withdrew his support for Putin. Macron, on the other hand, appealed to the non-aligned movement at the UN General Assembly, asking them to take a side with Ukraine in the Russia-Ukraine war. This movement, which is against imperialism and consists of 120 countries, should not remain silent about the occupation and exploitation of Ukraine, at least for the sake of consistency.

In Brussels, the possibility of Putin using a tactical nuclear warhead is highly debated. It seems that this discussion is not early, but the probability of using it is low for now. However, this possibility is increasing day by day.

Melony of melancholy?

This Sunday, Italians will go to the polls to determine who will give the reins of the country’s administration. According to public opinion polls, the choice of voters is in favor of Giorgia Meloni. According to some, he is just a nationalist conservative politician. According to some, he is the leader of a neo-fascist party. The possibility of Meloni, the leader of the ‘Brothers of Italy’ party, to become the prime minister of one of the founding countries of the EU, arouses wide repercussions in Brussels. Centre-left parties describe Meloni as the worst disaster that could happen to Italy.

Discourse change and the search for legitimacy

Meloni, on the other hand, tries to reject the criticism that she is a neo-fascist and inspired by the Nazis. However, every day, one or two members of his party who are revealed to be Nazi sympathizers are disciplined and removed. He’s definitely an anti-foreigner, hyper-populist leader. However, Meloni, who will come to power within the framework of a coalition, is extremely realistic about the economic situation of his country.

Italy’s public debt is over 165% of the country’s gross national product. Unemployment is very high and the probability of fulfilling economic promises is very limited. Mustafi Prime Minister Mario Draghi met with almost all candidates, including Meloni, in the summer, and gave the most transparent information about the economic policy that the country should follow. Meloni, the former minister of Silvio Berlusconi, is expected to form a coalition with Berlusconi, the president of ‘Forza Italy’, and Matteo Salvini, the leader of the Northern League. Draghi reminded the candidates of the economic situation of the country and the conditions of the aid fund provided by the European Commission. Draghi reminded that the Commission gave 40 billion Euros to Italy every 6 months for 3 years and that if Rome moves away from the EU, it will not receive this money. Meloni understood this very well.

As a matter of fact, it is rumored in Brussels that Meloni envisions Fabio Panetta, the Italian member of the European Central Bank, as the economy minister. In this context, Meloni’s ‘only’ anti-foreign rhetoric and policies may pose a problem. A tightening of immigration laws may come to the fore. Apart from that, the country’s departure or departure from the EU is not on the agenda. It seems that Meloni’s curse will not occur if he reins in Salvini, who will be among the partners of the future coalition. A politically significant change, but as long as Italy’s economic reins are in Brussels and Frankfurt, there will be no extraordinary development in the country. However, the fact that a neo-fascist party is in power is partly an indication of the desperation of the Italian people, and on the other hand, it seems as if the lessons of the second world war have disappeared 76 years later.

3 important dates in EU-Turkey relations

There is no groundbreaking development in EU-Turkey relations, but there is a slight acceleration. As I wrote last week, the European Political Community leaders’ summit will be held in Prague on October 6th. Ankara aims to participate at a high level if the assurance that this meeting will not harm Turkey’s EU candidacy status is given.

Another important date is October 12. Because the European Commission will announce the country reports. No major changes are expected in Turkey’s report. Another important date is November 15. “High Level Dialogue on Science, Research, Technology and Innovation” meeting will be held between the EU and Turkey. It is a subject that is in line with the spirit of the time.