Tag Archives: Cyprus

The awkward love of Arab Muslims for the Neo-ottoman Sultan of Turkey


It was during a cold winter in Davos when Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan hit a political jackpot. Overnight he had become the Muslim and Arab world’s champion. It was the first time that Turkish and Israeli relations were in danger. During his last re-election, many hearts were close to God and raised their hands in prayer for Erdogan’s election victory.

After the Davos conference, thousands of people gathered at Ataturk airport, in Istanbul, to greet the Turkish prime minister, waving Turkish and Palestinian flags and chanting: “Turkey is proud of you”.

According to the Middle East Eye, the Islamic and Arab world, plagued for decades with rulers who are either secular despots, dictatorial monarchs or theocratic autocrats – all of whom pay no more than lip service to furthering the wellbeing of Muslims, is quick to revere anyone who is willing to publicly speak on their behalf, even if it fails to result in firm action.

Also, for the Middle East Monitor, while the Arab countries continue to be under oppressive, tyrannical regimes, whether monarchies or presidential systems governed by the military, they can easily search for a “Hero”. All these countries, with no exception, are corrupt, with the leaders and their hypocritical supporters benefitting from the country’s wealth while the vast majority of their people suffer from poverty, hunger, deprivation and illness, unable to make a decent living or receive adequate medical treatment.

During the previous years we have seen many articles from the Arab world praising the Sultan as “Erdogan is now the hero of the Egyptian street,” from one Egyptian blogger, complaining that Egypt was suffering from a severe shortage of national heroes.

Turkish AKP partly relates to the Middle Eastern “cult hero” phenomenon, whereby leaders seen to be defying the west or Israel, no matter how recklessly or for whatever selfish reasons, are elevated to heroes in the eyes of millions. This wannabe leader of the Arab world and Africa presents himself as a champion of the Palestinians to lure Arabs into his corner, while maintaining diplomatic, trade and intelligence ties with Tel Aviv.

To strengthen that relationship, both countries began planning the multi-billion-euro Mediterranean Pipeline Project, known as Med Stream, back in 2008 and more recently in 2017. The longterm goal of the undersea infrastructure project: To create a sophisticated pipeline system to facilitate the exchange of electricity, natural gas, crude oil and water.

The tender involved building a pipeline from Leviathan to the Turkish shoreline. Such a pipeline must necessarily pass through Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).Cyprus has repeatedly stated it is opposed to an Israel-Turkey pipeline running through its EEZ until a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem. Whereas Cyprus’ ally Israel would prefer to have Nicosia’s consent for the pipeline,in reality it does not need it (international waters).

Erdogan’s government since Davos has been quick to mobilise Turkish resources and dispatch aid to various places where Muslims have become imperilled, whether it be to Somalia or to the Rohingya in Burma. For Erdogan, championing the cause of the world’s Muslims has also helped him to bolster his reputation among his major constituents domestically – the Muslim conservatives.

As the Arab Spring kicked off in 2011, a confident Turkey hoped to restore some of its former Ottoman-era glory, positioning itself as a leader among the Sunni Muslim nations. It threw its weight behind Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Syria’s rebels, just as it had backed Hamas in Gaza. Qatar proved an enthusiastic ally.

This strategy backfired when the Brotherhood was overthrown in Egypt and replaced by a military strongman who, backed by the region’s other status quo powers, chiefly Saudi Arabia, is restoring the pre-2011 status quo in Cairo. Syria’s Turkish-backed rebels lost ground and Bashar al-Assad held on to power in Damascus. These setbacks left Turkey looking weakened and isolated in the region — just at the time that Ankara’s relations with its long-standing NATO allies are fraying under Erdoğan.

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A selection of the best wines in the Eastern Mediterranean.


(Une sélection des meilleurs vins en Méditerranée de l’Est)

  • Greece

Agiorgitiko: This grape produces lush, velvety reds with black-cherry flavors.

Agiorgitiko, which is the most widely planted grape in Greece, is most easily comparable to Cabernet Sauvignon, as it has similar dark fruit flavors of prunes and plums, and the same heavy tannins that dry your mouth out and beg for the wine to be drunk alongside meat. It’s also due to this similarity that you can often find the two grapes blended together. It’s a powerful and bold red wine that fans of this style will love, which is what makes it go so well with the heavier meat dishes.

  • Turkey

Öküzgözü: is a grape variety and a Turkish wine produced from this grape. “It’s called ‘bull’s eye’ because it’s a big, round, dark grape.

The grape is one of the two native grape varieties of Elazığ province, located on the Anatolian plateau at the north of the Taurus Mountains. Öküzgözü makes bright, fruit-driven red wines. These grapes make a full-bodied, intense red wine that marries well with food and can benefit from time spent in cellar.

  • Lebanon

Ixsir red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon Variety):Plenty of fruit with licquorice on the finish – and yet, it is dry with elegance, enveloped in fine, soft oak, and finishing very long.

This (unusual) red blend of Caladoc, Syrah, Tempranillo made with the help of St-Emilion’s Hubert de Boüard (of Château Angélus) from vines grown at an altitude of 1,000 metres is refined and elegant, a pronounced streak of freshness giving verve and definition to the blackcurrant fruit, while the tannins are polished to a fine sheen. 90/100: The Wine Gang

  • Egypt

According to the Oxford Companion to Wine, today Egypt produces about half a million gallons of wine a year (about as much as England). This is a remarkable amount of wine, especially considering that 75% of Egypt’s population are (mostly) non-drinking Muslims.

There are only a very few modern Egyptian wines in production. Egypt’s climate is simply too hot and dry to support viticulture on any scale. Although vines are famously fond of dry conditions, they need a certain amount of water for respiration and photosynthesis. Beyond that, water makes up a significant part of the grapes which are, after all, the entire point of viticulture. The famously fertile Nile Delta (one of the world’s largest river deltas) is the only part of Egypt where viticulture is a practical enterprise. The delta is formed as the Nile River fans out before draining into the Mediterranean. It stretches westwards along the coast from Port Said to Alexandria (home of the Muscat of Alexandria grape), and thus benefits from the cooling effects of the nearby sea.

Grand Marquis: This wine needs food like red meats because of its power.

Sometimes sweet or simple red , smooth, easy, middle of the road, clear, vanilla, silky, short finish, well integrated, diluted like a Crystal Light packet, blackberry jam, Egyptian version of table wine, low sugar, low tannins.

  • Cyprus

Marathevtiko: its grapes can give rich wines with soft tannins and aromas of cherries and black chocolate. With proper care it offers an excellent wine with great body, intense color and a pleasant bouquet. The characteristics of this wine rank it among the most high-quality varieties of our country with prospects of development. Specifically, it is characterized by a scent of freshly cut grass, vanilla, berries and wood.

Maratheftiko does not have hermaphrodite flowers like many cultivated grape varieties and requires co-planting with other varieties in order to achieve fertilisation and fruit development. This exceptional variety was grown amongst other grape varieties and was used in winemaking only to improve the colour and body of wines made from the local Mavro. Maratheftiko still represents only 3% of cultivated vineyards on the island but has become extremely popular among Cypriot winemakers and wine enthusiasts.

  • Palestine

Taybeh wine.(source)

Nadim Khoury, a Palestinian who is known for establishing Taybeh Brewery, has also opened a winery in the West Bank Christian majority village of Taybeh. Using 21 indigenous varieties of grapes, the wines produced were quick to gain visitors’ praise.Khoury admits that Israeli restrictions has made it difficult to do business, his shipments for example, including his wine-making equipment, have been delayed because of Israeli checkpoint inspections.The family behind the wine and beer says they are carrying out “peaceful resistance” by investing in their homeland and staying put.A wine festival is now held annually in the town.

Nadim Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied, elegant and complex wine that exhibits flavors of local spices and ripe cherry. Its equilibrated acidity and persistent tannins allow this wine to age effortlessly for years. Nadim Merlot is a well-balanced, medium-bodied and aromatic wine. The nose and palate exhibit intense aromas of fresh herbs combined with hints of cherry and a background of earth. Its maturity and smooth tannins allows for immediate enjoyment of this wine.