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Ο φιλότουρκος Κ Μπιλντ: Carl Bildt & Turkey
Thumbs in many pies. By Soteris Sitheris.
Cynical, aggressive, sarcastic, reckless, vicious, anti-Greece, pro-Turkey - these be but a few of the epithets slapped on Sweden's minister for foreign affairs Carl Bildt by Greek diplomats, consultants, experts, and the entire Cyprus diplomatic corp. Bildt aligns fully with Turkish policy - he's the ultimate symbol of pro-Turkey policy in the EU.
This isn't as simple as it seems, as there are others who support Turkey. But the difference is that Carl Bildt in the past five years created the support organisation 'Friends of Turkey', and that organisation includes the UK, Spain, Italy, Finland, and of course Sweden. These nations meet often to plan their activities for Cyprus and now FYROM as well, taking the side of Nikola Gruevski. Gruevski's involvement in FYROM, particularly with the shrill tones he uses, has provoked many questions, and has been attributed to his arrogance: Gruevski thinks of himself as a 'top dog' with 'empathy' towards Greece.
Carl Bildt's activities have given rise to an orgy of rumours about what led him to become such a fanatic supporter of Turkey, a 'political mercenary' in the service of Ankara, as one diplomat expressed it, coming into conflict even with the Swedish parliament when they recognised the Armenian genocide.
Rumours and reports abound in the Swedish media about economic interests linking Sweden and Turkey, but none of this seems to stop Carl Bildt, maybe because no one's ever dug deeper into the story to find the possible connection between public policymaking and private interests in a fully functioning state such as Sweden.
Carl Bildt's activities continue to escalate year after year. More and more he's involved in hard core anti-Greece intermezzos and verbal outbursts, such as at the General Affairs Council of the EU.
On 6 December 2011, Bildt insisted that one record that FYROM were ready to begin accession negotiations, whilst he at the same time with Turkey conducted an attack on Greece. This happened only a few hours after the Hague Tribunal's ruling on the name 'FYROM'. Bildt's failure to bring about accession negotiations for FYROM led him to make a tactical retreat, saying 'soon we shall see'.
But this all started back in September 2007 in New York when Bildt and his 'Friends of Turkey' set about pressuring Cyprus. The meeting caused legitimate concern in Athens and Nicosia, as the Greek side were still under pressure after the rejection of the Annan Plan. Bildt's meetings were ongoing; during the second half of 2009, Sweden assumed the EU presidency. The first cause for alarm came when Carl Bildt, in an interview with Le Figaro, said 'the EU cannot consider Cyprus, an island off the coast of Syria, a European country and at the same time not do the same for Turkey'.
The Swedish EU presidency tried to unblock a number of the chapters in the accession negotiations; Bildt traveled to Ankara and did what he could, but the critical EU session was yet to happen. Greece's PM George Papandreou wanted the issues to be resolved at the General Affairs Council on 7 December 2009 without going to the European Summit: Greece was already in the eye of the storm because of the economic crisis.
But there was hell to be paid at the General Affairs Council. Diplomats who closely monitored developments noted that the Swedish presidency seemed to be desperate to achieve their results at all costs, but in vain.
One diplomat said incredible insults were hurled against Greece and Cyprus by Bildt and British foreign minister Miliband. Greek deputy foreign minister Droutsas, trying to keep things calm, noted that the Greek government were unable to open further chapters as Turkey persisted in the same position. Miliband swore and stood up and left the room in anger.
Bildt cursed both Droutsas and Greece, saying that the official 'meeting conclusions' would not be finalised, sending the matter to the summit. Other ministers intervened to calm things down but that took a full two hours. Flushed red with anger, Bildt was forced to conclude the council's official conclusions without being able to open further chapters for Turkey's accession to the EU.
One year later in September 2010, Bildt attacked Cyprus and France, accusing them of inhibiting Turkey's EU accession.
'It is of course fundamentally unacceptable that countries hinder the integration process for their own political reasons. This is contrary to the European spirit.'
A storm ensued in the European Parliament when on 21 July 2009 Bildt replied to a question from French MEP Dominique Bontis.
'The events in Cyprus should be placed and understood in the historical context of the time, and the Turkish intervention was the result of the behaviour of the junta of the colonels in Greece.'
Bildt was thereafter regarded as having become anti-Greece; his ethic seems to be that if a law suits him, then he can support it, but if not, he can sidestep it. Bildt knows nothing about missing persons on Cyprus from 1974, or the Turkish settlers, or the Turkish military occupation, or confiscation of assets - nothing. This was the first time a representative of Sweden took such a stand.
In March 2010 the Swedish parliament recognised the genocide of Armenians, Pontic Greeks, Chaldeans, Syrians, and Assyrians. Bildt was downcast, remarking that 'the politicisation of history serves no one'.
Bildt's Private Finances
Several reports in the Cypriot and Swedish media have linked Bildt financially with Turkey. According to DN.se, Bildt was involved in investments in Turkey through East Capital where he has shares for nearly SEK 2 million. A report from the Swedish ministry for foreign affairs reveals Bildt's investments in East Capital.
East Capital Balkan (276,000)
East Capital Explorer (1,526,000)
East Capital Turkey (16,500)
The funds for East Capital Turkey are used by the Turkish army. It was Carl Bildt's job to promote investment in Turkey. He did a good job. According to published data, investment reached 11.4% of the total available to East Capital Turkey. The company is owned by the Turkish Armed Forces Pension Fund.
Bildt resigned from East Capital Turkey on 21 October 2006, 15 days after his appointment as minister for foreign affairs. The Swedish tabloid Expressen described his investments as 'bloody shares'. Turkish cement company Adana Çimento used the money to finance twelve members of the secret police who have been accused of torture and murder.
Bildt's investment trails are labyrinthine. Greek authorities have every reason to investigate further.
Carl Bildt is thought to be the puppet master at the Swedish end responsible for the diplomatic standoff with Sweden, Assange, and Ecuador.
Rixstep Special Report: Our Man Bildt
Rixstep Special Report: The Bildt Files