On 11th February the first meeting of the ‘Philia Forum’ (meaning ‘Friendship Forum’ in Greek) took place in Athens. The platform brought together six countries, represented by their Foreign Ministers and included Greece, Cyprus, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian participated in the meeting through video conferencing as an observer.
During the forum, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias commented, “What unites us all today is the condemnation of illegal acts and the condemnation of irrational acts that undermine peace and security... Our goal is to create a bulwark against threats, violence, extremism, intolerance and distortion of religion.”
Who else could he mean but Erdogan?
UAE Minister Reem Al-Hashimy said, “the intensification of challenges and crises in the region demands cooperation and coordination to wisely establish a basis for development, security and peace.”
Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan made the most powerful comment and stated that the focus of the forum was “on the national sovereignty of states and their independence according to international laws and treaties denouncing intervention in other countries’ affairs.”
Who else could they mean but Erdogan?
In a joint statement released after the meeting, the participating Ministers said that they exchanged views on issues of common interest and concern, with the aim of further strengthening cooperation and actively contributing to the consolidation of peace, stability and security in the wider region.
Referring to international law, UN Security Council Resolutions and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the forum members also urged the UN Security Council members to ensure strict implementation of all relevant UN principles to guarantee peaceful solutions in settling conflicts and ensuring peace in the region.
"We stressed our strong commitment to fundamental principles enshrined therein, such as the respect of the sovereignty, sovereign rights, independence and territorial integrity of states, the peaceful resolution of differences and rejection of threat or use of force, the non-interference in other countries' internal affairs and the freedom of navigation," they added.
What other threats could they be referring to but Erdogan?
Erdogan’s Turkey is already going through a massive economic crisis. It has been overburdened by the expenses incurring on implementation of Erdogan’s Caliphate programme in Turkey as well as across the world, spent mostly on funding mercenaries and sponsoring covert operations. The creation of such a forum would be detrimental to the ambition of Turkey to generate revenue from high seas by resorting to an aggressive posture.
Erdogan’s sphere of influence and circle of friends is diminishing. He must be alarmed at how quickly his Caliphate ambitions are evaporating in the bright and disinfecting sunlight of international collaboration.
Any country can apply to become a member of the Phila Forum. So why not Armenia? Why not Austria? Why not Israel?
Why not Turkey? The Turkish Foreign Ministry responded to the Philia Forum by claiming “this threatens peace and stability in our region”. So there we have it. Anything that Erdogan cannot control, intimidate, coerce he sees as a threat.
But the real threat is not friendship between countries, but an authoritarian state with imperialist ambitions that silences critics, imprisons political opponents and controls a fundamentalist mercenary horde.
Long live the Philia Forum.