Wednesday, October 7, 2020

"After signs of rapprochement, Turkey-EU ties sour again" (hey Tayyip, you know what day it is?)

 Quite amazing that, with Turkey's bellicosity on at least six fronts (Libya, Syria, Iraq, Cyprus, Greece, Azerbaijan) that the EU is still talking about Turkey's accession to the club.

From Reuters, October 6:

Turkey’s relations with the European Union appeared to take a turn for the worse on Tuesday, as Ankara voiced dissatisfaction with the result of last week’s EU summit and the bloc said the country’s bid for membership was evaporating.

Tensions between the EU and Ankara had eased in recent weeks as Turkey and EU member Greece agreed to hold exploratory talks to solve several longstanding disputes, including a standoff over maritime claims in the eastern Mediterranean.

Last Friday EU leaders assuaged concerns raised by Cyprus, which had been pushing for sanctions on Ankara, by assuring it that the bloc would punish Turkey if it continues oil and gas drilling in disputed areas of the eastern Mediterranean.

But President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the outcome of last week’s EU summit was not sufficient to overcome the problems in Turkey-EU ties....


From the BBC:

On 7 October 1571, Ottoman forces clashed with the Holy League's fleet in a huge naval battle in the Mediterranean. Writing for BBC World Histories in 2017, Jerry Brotton looks at both sides of an encounter that shifted the balance of sea power in the region

The battle of Lepanto was one of the greatest conflicts in pre-modern history, pitting Ottoman naval forces against the ships of the Christian Holy League in the Gulf of Patras off western Greece. The clash, involving an estimated 500 ships and 100,000 combatants, was the largest such battle since ancient times and the last great naval conflict dominated by armed rowing vessels.

The background to the battle was a region becoming increasingly dominated by the Ottomans. That empire was engaged in a relentless programme of expansion across the Mediterranean, in stark contrast to the disunity that characterised their papal, Spanish and Venetian adversaries. With the accession of Sultan Selim II in 1566, Ottoman designs on north Africa and Christian strongholds such as Malta and Cyprus threatened to transform the Mediterranean basin into one vast Turkish naval port.
When in the summer of 1570 the Ottomans declared war on Venice and invaded Cyprus, Pope Pius V, Philip II of Spain and the Venetians agreed to put aside their differences and combine forces in the form of a Holy League. They hastily assembled a vast Christian armada of more than 200 ships, 40,000 sailors and 20,000 troops led by Philip II’s half-brother Don John of Austria. In the summer of 1571, the fleet set sail to lift the siege of Cyprus. When Don John learned of the fall of Famagusta on that island he headed for Lepanto, where the Ottoman fleet of 300 ships lay at anchor.

Savage combat

On the morning of 7 October the two sides engaged each other in an epic battle that quickly descended into savage hand-to-hand combat as both sides boarded each other’s galleys. Around 4pm, as the smoke of war began to lift, it became clear that the Ottomans had been outgunned and defeated, losing by some estimates nearly 200 of their ships, along with 15,000 soldiers and sailors.

For a brief moment, Christendom forgot its divisions and united in celebration of its victory over the seemingly invincible Turks. Across Europe the news was greeted with an extraordinary outpouring of delight, relief and what one commentator, the Venetian Pietro Buccio, described as a “marvellous and glorious Christian victory against the infidels”. In contrast, Selim II quoted a verse from the Qur’an: “But it may happen that you hate a thing which is good for you,” and swore to avenge the defeat by rebuilding his fleet and intensifying his attacks on Christian forces across the Mediterranean basin....