As the Tigray Defense Force begins the final motions of capturing Dessie and Kombalcha international chaos affecting much more than Ethiopia is becoming evident. Turkey’s attempt to change the course of the Ethiopian Tigray war may in the end not only fail but cost it much in relations with other NATO members. The Ethiopian Tigray genocidal conflict has cost existing and future partnerships and investment with many Western democracies for Ethiopia and Turkey.
The expulsion of many Western diplomats from Turkey today in response to their public denouncement of the arrest and detention since 2013 of a prominent Turkish businessman and philanthropist, Osman Kavala, is the latest in a deteriorating relationship between Turkey and fellow NATO members. Through NATO confidential technology used in weapons systems including combat drones was shared with Turkey to allow them to share in producing NATO weapons. However Turkey has taken advantage of these technological secrets to sell weapons to participants in conflicts outside those normally allowed such as Ethiopia. Members of Congress in the USA have called for blocking further technology transfers.
Acquisition of weapons from Turkey, Iran, and possibly North Korea is also resulting in further deterioration of USA and other NATO members with those countries as well. Yesterday the Ethiopian Air Force tried to trick Mekelle Air Defense systems to mistakenly shoot down a UN aid flight. They did an airstrike on Mekelle while the UN flight was approaching to land. Although this did not happen, the Ethiopian government has caused the UN aid flights to be suspended. However, this flagrant and provocative action will only further increase calls for sanctions against the Ethiopian government.
Is Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed now making deals with a Turkish anti-Christian cocaine dealer? Does the hypocrisy of Abiy Ahmed know no bounds?
Just this month a story published in the Nordic Monitor described that a jet owned by a close associate of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was caught smuggling 1.3 tons of cocaine into Brazil. The jet was owned by a company owned by Şeyhmus Özkan, a known oil smuggler who enjoys political cover thanks to his close ties to the Erdoğan government. He is a vital supporter of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which is led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The article noted that the response of the Turkish government to this event “bears the hallmark of a coverup by Turkish authorities”. Is Abiy Ahmed planning to use Ethiopian jets the same way to help his economy?
Components of Turkish Airlines have filed bankruptcy in last year and have struggled to do well in the international COVID19 pandemic. Additionally although offering low fairs which are probably violating international regulations on national subsidy to capture markets the airline suffers from a poor reputation of customer service. Frequent comments such as “worst airline ever” appear on the well known rating website Skytrax.
Although Abiy Ahmed presents himself as devoted evangelical Christian who promotes tolerance of religious diversity that is not the case with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who is coming under increasing international criticism for his suppression of Christianity in Turkey. Historically Istanbul once known as Constantinopol was known as the first nation to officially adopt Christianity by the Emperor Constantine. He is recognized and venerated by Ethiopian Orthodox followers as his mother, Helen, who is said to have found the relics of the cross on which Jesus was crucified. This is in fact an important holiday in Ethiopia called Meskel which means cross in the ancient language of Ge’ez used by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in its scripture. Why make deals with a man who mocks your own religion?
Whereas it was once commonplace for Orthodox Christianity and Islam to co-exist in Turkey that has changed under Erdoğan’s leadership. Christian churches are being converted to Mosques and Christians are frequently confronted by police and accused of treason. The celebration of Meskel as an open public celebration as done in Ethiopia is outlawed in Turkey.