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tv   France 24 AM News  LINKTV  August 19, 2022 5:30am-6:01am PDT

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>> this is al jazeera. these are your top stories. three major u.s. pharmacy chains have been ordered to pay two counties. a court found pharmacies run by cvs, walmart and walgreens helped create a public nuisance by over supplying addictive pain pills. we report. >> the three retailers were sued by the counties of lake and trumbull, east of cleveland, the
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largest city in ohio. and a jury back in november, almost nine months ago, found the three retailers guilty of basically dumping opioid medicines in those two counties. it came out during the trial that between 2012 and 2016, some 1.4 billion bills were sold -- pills were sold. that is 400 per person. >> restoring it to vladek ties after years of strained relations. -- restoring diplomatic ties. the companies will be appointing investors. turkey will not abandon support for palestinians. thousands of people in argentina are demonstrating amid the rising cost of living. trade unions are to many higher wages as well as property benefits argentina is one of the world's highest inflation rates. ukrainian authorities have joined nuclear disaster response drills.
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exercises have taken place after several incidences of shelling at europe's largest nuclear power plant. ukraine and moscow blame each other for attacks against the russian controlled city. the u.n. rights chief says it is not safe or hundreds of thousands of refugees to return to myanmar. michelle has been meeting in bangladesh, where the government is growing impatient about hosting the refugees. several people have been killed in an explosion at a city mosque in kabul. the blast happened during evening prayers on wednesday. police have not confirmed the number of casualties, but they say that the imam of the mosque were among those killed. ok, those are your headlines. the news continues here on al jazeera after inside story. ♪
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>> should the west be nervous about turkey's close ties with russia? the coup just the two countries are showing up cooperation as moscow faces sanctions. as it wages were in ukraine, how will russia benefit from the partnership? this is inside story. welcome to the program. russia and turkey are reported to have agreed on a delivery of a second batch of 400 missile-defense systems. the decision to purchase the air
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defense system was a sign of a deepening pragmatic, yet complicated relationship between president and vladimir putin. the deal created a rift between nato allies, turkey, and the u.s.. leaving washington to expel turkey from the f-35 writer jet program. they continue to play with a call a balancing act between russia on one side and nato on the other. but this does not sit well with western countries. they threaten to impose sanctions if turkey continues to help russia evade sanctions over its war on ukraine. in july, they brokered a deal between ukraine and russia to allow grain to be exported to turkey. but with wheat prices rising because of the war in ukraine and russia's locate of ukrainian black seaports, leading humanitarian organizations are warning of a global hunger crisis. u.n. secretary general upheld the deal as a beacon of hope that what -- that would avoid
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food shortages. turkey lies opposite russia and ukraine across the black sea in both countries see it as a neutral mediator. so turkey hosted several rounds of talks aimed at halting the war in ukraine. despite nato membership, turkey rejected calls to boycott russia. and instead they say they want to deepen their ties. but turkey also has a good relationship with ukraine, even supplying turkish made drones for use in the war. talks between ukraine and russia have since stalled. let's bring in our guest, maximilian is a fellow foreign policy institute and an expert in affairs. he judges from london. they are a specialist in the contemporary history of the middle east and a fellow in international relations she joins us from moscow. they are a former diplomat and
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director of a think tank that focuses on turkeys or in security, economic into digital policy. and he joins us from istanbul. thank you very much, all of you for joining us on inside story. i would like to begin with you. how have russia and turkey gotten to this point of cooperation, this point of closeness? >> well, this all began approximately in 2000. and they have been fortunate. and it is still partially based on the anti-western stance. in the beginning of the 2000, both russia and turkey were expecting more cooperation from europe, from the european and western partners. but eventually, it did not get what it wants. turkey did not get -- it strive
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for e.u. membership and russia did not get the level of a compliment. besides that, they have a measure of overlapping and coinciding interests. the russian region and the eastern region allow for the cooperation. at the same time, maintaining dialogue on the issues. like for example in 2015, there was a crisis in their relations when russian jet was down by turkey. their relations were repaired. and to date, economic relations remain very high and very intensive.
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concerning trade, foreign trade they are cooperating. recently, this cooperation despite differences they have been facing at the moment. >> ok. we were talking later on in the show about the economic ties and how important are the both parties. i will talk to you maximilian in london. how has the previous relationship between turkey and russia been up until now? because they have not always seen eye to eye, have they? >> no, of course this was being discussed seven years ago, turkish and russian relations were at a negative because they supported opposite sides in syria and then you have the incident with the turkish plane shooting down a russian jet. they called and it is support, but they did not get it out to respond to quite the level that
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they wanted them to. turkish russian relations changed remarkably when the government accused of the united states of being behind an attempted coup. that was what led them to make this large deal, also to create a deal with russian nuclear power. and to build further supplies to bring russian gas. this undermines, from europe's one of you, the southern border strategy, which was to have turkey be a route to supply gas from nassar and further afield as well to russia. now we see the turkish economy in crisis for the last year plus, and the inflation numbers make those in the west pale in comparison. but there seems to be no change in approach, they certainly have carved out a strategically important role in the region. ukraine in particular, of course, but also the conflict between armenia. and in syria, the west seems to
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be largely building its hopes on the idea that everyone will lose the election next year, so it continues to approach it with care. so far, we've seen that drive along more into russia's arms. i think there are clear red lines on that. opportunistic, selling drones to ukraine, having discussions. grain shipments getting uprooted the west is approaching with sticks, although they are a native ally -- a nato ally. it seems to be allowing some very mutual convenience at the moment. >> in istanbul, i want to get your take on turkeys response to the war in ukraine, kind of generally. because as we have said, it has been telling this line or managing this sort of balancing act. >> yes, perhaps the best way to describe, to summarize turkey's
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position is to state that turkey is being pro ukraine without being anti-russia. what we are seeing is a difficult balancing act. but the way that turkey has so far i think successfully steered its policy in this direction, it was -- they've already alluded to it, turkey has continued to supply drones to ukraine, which have in vital on the battlefield. politically, turkey has been critical of russian aggressiveness. turkey has not recognize the annexation of crimea, so on those political grounds, military keeps on the same page as nato allies. it is caused turkeys strength to be a message of russian warships. at the same time, turkey is the only nato ally not to have imposed sanctions on russia. the air remains open.
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it is the only western leader who has met with putin twice within a month. and then, agreements are being negotiated with russia. so, this is the difficult balancing act. and, if you basically take a step back and try to assess what this will do, this has enabled turkey to play a particularly big role, firstly in the first phase of the conflict where turkey was a facilitator for diplomatic negotiations. the two foreign ministers, ukrainian and russian foreign minister's have met for the first time in turkey after the onset of the war. then the dramatic delegation met in turkey. now, the dynamics of war have superseded the dynamics of diplomacy, but nonetheless, turkey also connected and succeeded in getting the grain deal. and this is, i think, important
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to underline, because at a time when there is dissolution of trust between russia and ukraine, these countries have actually negotiated with turkey. so the agreement that made the grain deal was a central bilateral agreement. russia and turkey and ukraine and turkey backed by the u.n.. so russia and ukraine themselves have not concluded an agreement. and this, in a way, demonstrates the validity of turkey's careful balancing act towards russia. >> before we move on from you, i want to ask you one more question. president last year, correct me if i'm wrong, said turkey was considering buying more joint -- sorry, considering more joint defense industry steps for fighter jets and sufferings. do you see that going ahead? >> no, i do not. and i think the news that turkey
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has 400 was essentially russian disinformation. it is true that there is an agreement in place, where turkey got the first batch of this 400. up with an option to buy the second batch. but that option was never triggered and i do not see that being triggered under the current circumstances, where the relationship in russia and nato has become so acrimonious because of ukraine. and also at a time when turkey is seeking to get u.s. support, both white house and congress, in order to modernize its air fleet and get new f-16s. so i do not see that happening in the foreseeable future. >> ok. i want to take that back. so, it was a russian state news agency that reported that the two sides had agreement on the second batch of s 400 defense systems. even if this is just talking about an option to buy the
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second batch, how is that likely to go down with nato, given the war in ukraine? >> well, it is probably major countries. however, turkey has some issues with purchasing systems from the u.s., because the u.s. has issues with greece. it gave greece control over some of the islands. it was a condition to not use u.s. provided systems against greece. in turkey refused, so broadly this purchase of a second part of this -- whether it was or was not, it can be used as leverage
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over some allies, especially the u.s., demonstrate that turkey has options. it is not -- it does not have to buy the u.s. systems. it can offer to buy something else, so probably, it is part of the act. whether it will be realized or not. >> ok. maximilian, let's talk about the economy. i believe turkey has been working with the criminal on a parallel import scheme to bypass some western sanctions. should turkey be worried about secondary sanctions or what are some of turkey's role in russian goods? >> you know, we have seen turkish imports and the latest data go up quite a bit too russia, although that has not applied to goods which are the moans -- the ones mostly impacted by sanctions. the impact is on a trade basis, whether russia is ultimately supplying the dollars and which
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turkey really needs, or whether they are early on trading ripples which are to unstable currencies and we are experiencing the most significant inflation of any economy over the world over the last year. it does not really matter if there is dollar involvement. turkey will want more and russia, that would invoke the buyer of the targeted u.s. sanctions. but to respond to some of the last point is well, i think it is important to understand the fundamental u.s., turkish, russian issues are not issues that emanate out of the turkey relationship with russia. they are stressors aggravating factors and seen as undermining the country's democratic project. in much of the west and using tools to extract concessions. that relationship was broken. india, which is now a nato member is facing many of these questions.
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western ones have been buying russian oil there. we've seen the u.s. congress say it endorses the labor of india's own porches of s 400. so if the diplomatic relationship between turkey and the united states and the west could be with restored, i think the issue of the first s 400 purchase could certainly ultimately put aside. but it really depends on what they do and how much they try to essentially extract the dollars out of that, sanctions evasion and that basis. there is a lot of actions and if washington does not like that it will present a significant risk. >> the president is facing a very dire economic situation. talking about inflation. i mean, he is also facing an upcoming election. how much is that factoring into his decision-making around increasing ties and economic cooperation potentially with russia? >> quite a bit.
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because indeed, the turkish economy is having a difficult time. not only from the perspective of instability, rising inflation. but also in the depletion of foreign reserves, which could lead to a payment crisis. so the government west -- must at all costs of this type of scenario, because that would be basically -- it will become impossible to win elections if turkey goes into a payment crisis. this is where pressure comes in. turkey is looking to get additional foreign exchange, it is reaching out to a number of regional countries, not just russia, but also the gulf region but in the case of russia, there certainly has been some movement with, for instance, the investor
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and operator of the power plants that will become created in 2023 to be built on the coast. has decided to basically invest in that project, by way of turkish rubles. and this is something that scared up the reserves of the turkish central bank. there are some of these initiatives out there, but certainly, this is very much related to an economic situation. which the government needs to address. >> i want to pause you there. we'll come over to maximilian here. just wanted to add something good go ahead. >> thank you. i think that is exactly true, this balance of payment crisis and whether it comes before the election, those are the real questions that turkey faces. from a western point of view and particularly, the united states, bailout might be the wrong term, but economic support could ultimately alleviate turkey's
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issues much quicker, swap items, for example for the turkish central bank into u.s. dollars. it would not be that costly for the west. the question is are there concessions the west can give to turkey on other issues? for the price of making them take an anti-russian posture? i think that would in a conversation on that basis would enable western support, but so far, everyone has been shopping around the region. repairing relations with saudi arabia and all over. and now russian investment as well. i think the conversation needs to be on can the west do that as well? >> we have talked a lot about how much turkey needs russia, due to its struggling economy. how much does russia need turkey, given its i guess western isolation? >> i think that at the moment,
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it also is a kind of threat. it is important for us. it is of course one of the biggest ones. it is also one place to not be had by the further. cooperation and some of the security issues. syria for example. it is very important. it is also important for a hub for the russians.
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it's airspace was not closed, so yeah, that is really important for businesses. both for russia and turkey. and other issues as well. >> how much leverage does turkey now hold, do you think, with the west? i mean, there was the issue of sweden and finland's admission to nato. you know, cooperation on counterterrorism, on the migrant crisis. how much leverage does turkey hold and how do you think it might try to use that? >> well, i mean, given turkey's geographical position, the fact that it is a nato member and sees its future in the west, despite having a number of difficult issues both with the united states and the european union. it gives turkey leverage. because turkey is very close to
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-- and this is perhaps unfortunate, but it is almost at the epicenter of a number of different crises. syria, iran, fighting against radicalization, refugees and so on. so, relations with russia. therefore, this is the geopolitical context, where turkeys strategic importance has been heightened. if we had lived in a different world where democracy would have flourished everywhere, where history would have ended, perhaps turkeys geostrategic importance would not have been as high. but today, you know, we live obviously in a much more difficult world and we have seen this, witness to this, after the 24th of february, with the war in ukraine. so in this context, turkey remains important nato ally, despite its difficulties with its western partners.
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and we are seeing this also very clearly with the admission of sweden and finland to nato, where turkey is part of that procedure. and eventually, turkey, sweden and finland will address turkey's concerns, regarding the fight against terrorists, particularly terrorists in those countries. so turkey is indeed able to leverage its international position and geostrategic importance in its relations with the west. >> we are coming to -- nearing the end of the program. i would like to come to you maximilian because something we have not talked about here, which of course is a factor, is the fact that these two leaders, these two presidents, are big personalities. they are strong men. they want to at least project the image of being powerful personas. how has that factored in here,
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when we look at their relationship and how it is changing? >> well, i think that to the western audience, those terms are synonymous with strongmen and not necessarily democratic. and i think that is really the perception and in many ways, the reality of the turkish regime. at least this is strongly how the west feels. they do not agree with them being behind the coup attempts and that has boys in the relations ever since among -- and then the jailing of opposition parties, hdp, has really driven issues in relations as well as turkeys increase role in the conflict with libya, syria, and elsewhere. so, the west really seems to no longer believe that they are a democrat. there was a famous statement he made that democracy is a train
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and we get off at the right point. it has been cited in every western publication. at the same time, the approach on what to do about turkey seems to be were looking at the polls, he's going to lose the next election. but if one does not believe he is a democrat, the question is who -- will he lose the next election? so far i am not sure western policies have a good answer. >> we will have to leave it there. thank you to all of our guests. thank you for watching. you can see the program again any time by visiting our website, al for further discussion, good or facebook page. inside story. you can also join the conversation on twitter or handle is at a.j. inside story. from me and the whole team here, goodbye from -- goodbye for now. ♪
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the last time i was in taipei was in 1993, when i was teaching english to pre-schoolers. i've heard that it's changed dramatically here, but that just seems to be how this city rolls. taipei has seen pretty much everything, and it comes in bursts of furious growth. when martial law was finally lifted in 1987, taipei saw the rise of social movements. this place was an early adopter of the importance of indigenous rights and lgbt awareness, and embraced environmentalism and green space since the '70s. since the '90s, it's been globalization, neoliberalism, and american-style development. how do all these things work together?


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