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Page 48 2 Before the Antalya G-20 Summit By Garba Yakubu Leaders of the world 20 most influential economies in the world will converge in…

Page 48 2

Before the Antalya G-20 Summit

By Garba Yakubu

Leaders of the world 20 most influential economies in the world will converge in the city of Antalya in Turkey for the 10th summit of the G-20 between November 14 and 15. The G-20 consists of Germany, the US, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Indonesia, France, South Africa, South Korea, India, the UK, Italy, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the European Union. The Leaders’ Summit is to bring to the table all the issues affecting the global economic and financial environment.

Other issues expected to be discussed at the summit includes; global refugee crisis, issue bordering on corruption, abuse of office and graft in all ramifications. It is also expected that the world leaders would look into transparency of public tender and contracts, etc. Likewise, the Ukraine issue, Libya and similar critical issues will shape the unofficial agenda and atmosphere surrounding this summit.

Although over 3000 journalists are expected to cover this gathering, there are reports that opposition media outlets are being shut out which is a clear confirmation that Turkish government has remained adamant to its repressive tendencies.

I became more worried about the speculated moves by President Erdogan’s government to take control of Today’s Zaman, a newspaper outfit that published over a million copies daily, and Sanmangolu, a Television station with over 22 channels. Erdogan was reported to not only stop at the takeover, but proceeded to appoint a caretaker trusteeship to oversee these media houses, on the ground that the media outlets are being critical of the government policies and programmes.

It is however, regrettable that such a big summit is taking place in a country where Pro-Erdogan and pro-AKP media outlets openly target dissenting media outlets and firms. It was even observed that, Turkey’s largest media outlets, including foreign-owned Fox TV, are openly being threatened with a takeover similar to that of the Ipek Media Group. In such an oppressive environment, the G-20 leaders are very unlikely to remain indifferent to this despotic frenzy, which has poisoned Turkey’s investment climate, inhibits the competitive environment, violates the sanctity of property, breaches the principles of free enterprise and disregards the security of law. For good reason, then, speculations are rife that President Barak Obama of the

United States of America would be speaking on these issues, especially media suppression, as it was already having ripple effects in his country.

It will gladdened my heart and indeed all advocates of good governance to hear that, hosts, Turkey membership to the G-20 should be challenged due to the fact that the

Turkish lira has depreciated by 40 percent in recent years and the per capita national income has decreased to $9,000, due to the economic stagnation stemming from the decline in export and tourism revenue.

I am almost certain that many Turks would not be happy that the G-20 summit is being held in a country where fundamental rights and freedoms are ignored and all dissident groups are being publicly targeted by witch-hunts, particularly so during the last two years, and therefore, this should not escape the attention of the G-20 leaders. The entire world is aware of all this.

Just as it reported in some Turkish media that a section of the country also described as unfortunate that the G-20 Leaders’ Summit will be held in a country whose democracy is bleeding out and whose legal and judicial system is in its death throes, and which conducted its last election under extremely unfair and noncompetitive conditions.

It is almost certain that the Antalya summit of the G-20, which was created to discuss global economic and financial issues, may be overshadowed by geopolitical problems. What’s worse, there are fears that it may even be overshadowed by Erdogan and the AKP’s alleged arbitrariness and oppression, which may pave the way for Turkey losing its status as an investable country.

Garba Yakubu wrote in from Abuja

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