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EU-funded supercomputer may be ‘misused by Erdoğan’, warns MEP


A European Union-funded supercomputer could be used by Turkey’s Government  to track dissidents, Sweden Democrat MEP Charlie Weimers has told Brussels Signal.

Called the MareNostrum 5, the recently inaugurated technology is based in the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre.

It is currently rated among the top 10 most powerful computers in the world, according to the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU), a legal and funding entity created in 2018 and located in Luxembourg.

MareNostrum 5 operates at such a hight temperature it also heats the building it is situated in.

The project was funded by a Spanish-led consortium that included Turkey. That has led some such as Weimers to fear potential misuse given the supercomputer is designed for artificial intelligence (AI) development.

Speaking to the Brussels Signal, Weimers said: “AI can be used for surveillance … undermining democracy just as China is doing.

“It is worrying that the EU co-funds projects that give third countries access to this type of technology.”

While a NATO member and an applicant to become an EU Member State, Recep Erdoğan’s Turkey has faced allegations of authoritarianism.

The EU has been divided over how to approach its eastern neighbour.

When EU Council President Charles Michel made promises of EU membership to Erdoğan during last summer’s NATO summit, he was quickly rebuffed by other elements in the bloc.

MEPs told Michel that he could not “horse-trade” EU membership and then approved an official EU Parliament report denouncing Turkey’s “continuous backsliding in fundamental freedoms and rule of law”.

Last autumn, the Liberal Renew Group advocated that the EU abandon accession talks with Turkey and find a new format for co-operation.

Turkey’s foreign minister recently commented that, in his view, the EU considers Turkey a “rival rather than a partner”.