Flouted by the EU, Rama Turns to Erdoğan

As the EU has put the opening of accession negotiations on hold and dashed Prime Minister Edi Rama’s hope to lead his country into the EU with minimal reforms, he has increasingly turned to his eastern ally, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Besides copying the Turkish president in calling the movement of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen a “dangerous terrorist network,” even though the EU does not recognize it as such, and declaring his “admiration” in the Turkish press, Prime Minister Rama also increasingly relies on Turkish investments to improve his economical record.

For example, he has given the concession of Vlora Airport to a Turkish consortium, and he announced President Erdoğan’s “help” with setting up a national airline company.

Yesterday Prime Minister Rama attended the inauguration ceremony of President Erdoğan, who with the new powers given to the presidency during a referendum, will have enormous political powers, turning Turkey in a de facto autocracy.

It is remarkable that whereas all other Balkan countries sent their presidents, Albanian President Ilir Meta was replaced by Prime Minister Rama at the ceremony, which was shunned by the EU countries.