Will Erdogan Risk Isolation From Europe?

Will Erdogan Risk Isolation From Europe?

Le Monde newspaper in France says Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is risking isolation from the West with his threat to kick 10 Ambassadors out of Ankara.

In the Le Monde editorial titled “A quoi joue Recep Tayyip Erdogan” or what game ia s Erdogan playing? the paper says the Turkish president’s relations with his NATO partners and with European Union (EU) countries are already quite tumultuous, “he is running the risk of further deterioration by threatening to expel ten ambassadors in post in Ankara, including those from France, Germany and the United States.”

On Saturday, October 23, Erdogan declared that he had “ordered” his foreign minister to declare persona non grata the ambassadors of ten countries – United States, Germany, France, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Sweden , Canada, Norway, New Zealand. 

Osman Kavala

He accuses these countries of having signed, on October 18, a joint appeal for the release of businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala, accused of having sought to overthrow the government and kept in pre-trial detention for four years.

For Le Monde, Erdogan sees this call as interference in Turkish internal affairs and the paper says the signatories only echoed a decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which, in December 2019, ordered the “immediate release” of Kavala, which they say is abusively detained. 

Turkey is a founding member of the Council of Europe, from which the ECHR emerged.

If Recep Tayyip Erdogan follows through on this threat, the ambassadors will be forced to leave Turkey. 

Would the Turkish President shoot himself in the foot? asks Le Monde.

Deciding to dismiss ten ambassadors at once, seven of whom represent countries allied to his in NATO, is to risk opening up a diplomatic crisis in the run-up to the G20 summit in Rome, where he hoped to ‘meet with US President Joe Biden.

Democracies and autocracies

“Keen to promote Turkey’s geopolitical role, Erdogan has never been so isolated. Biden, who divides the world into democracies against autocracies, lacks the enthusiasm of his predecessor, Donald Trump, and has instead avoided it so far. 

“Its relations with the EU, and in particular with France, which has just concluded a defense pact with Greece, are complicated; the tensions caused by Ankara in the Eastern Mediterranean in 2020 and its role in Libya, where Turkey brought in mercenaries from Syria, have not improved the image of the president. 

“And his rapprochement with Vladimir Putin, who provided him with S-400 air defense systems, much to NATO’s chagrin, seems to be cut short: their last meeting, in Sochi, in September, was brief and ended. without a joint press conference,” says the paper.

Read the full story here: Le Monde