Diplomatic crisis – How to deal with Turkey?


Turkey seems to be on a rampage.

An aggressive rhetoric, diplomatic brinkmanship, and threats not only against Europe have made it ever more clear that this country under this leadership cannot become an EU member, and it is putting itself in an outsider role in Nato as well.

There is a problematic referendum calling for constitutional changes. While in normal times, this would not necessarily lead to an international crisis, Turkey presently plays an important role in the regional context, especially in the Syrian crisis, and in moderating flows of refugees.

So what can and should be done? Should Turkey’s neighbors and partners just leave it alone? Or rather, should they attempt to counter its policies?

– Klaus Segbers

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  1. Justas Paleckis 2 years ago

    Expansion of an aggressive rhetoric, diplomatic manoeuvring and threats on the eve of a constitutional referendum in Turkey show that its organizers are not sure about its outcome. So one should wait and see until the 16th of April. But even if it fails to change the constitution, it can be expected that the current government will try to strengthen authoritarian rule in other ways.

    It is true that the same trend, but in much milder forms, we see in the EU too. Rebuke from Brussels scarcely affected Hungary and Poland. Even fewer levers has Brussels, as well as Turkey's neighbors and partners to influence development in this country. There is no reason to take sanctions yet like in Russia’s case. Ankara would have more trump cards in its hands, than Brussels and Washington if relations between Turkey and the West will deteriorate sharply. Then Turkey could change its attitude to NATO and get closer to Russia even more.

    We have to accustom to live in our increasingly complex and fragile planet. And there is less and less time for the world to cope by joint efforts with at least a dozen global threats.

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  2. Alexei Voskressenski 2 years ago

    Turkey is struggling for a new balance of internal and external factors in its development under the new international situation as well as a new and very unstable "normalcy", hence its aggressive rhetoric, diplomatic brinkmanship, and threats. The search for this new balance touches upon Turkish politics, economics, foreign policy and strategic matters. President
    Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s drive for more power is reflecting the search of this new balance. However, the 'sudden' European understanding that Turkey cannot become an EU member
    and that it is putting itself in an outsider role in Nato, is reflecting not only these Turkish problems but European weaknesses as well. So the international community should probably not react to such Turkish behavior as long as the European politics are not settled up until the elections in France and Germany.

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  3. Dmytro Sherengovsky 2 years ago

    The Syrian crisis and the developments around it (including the actions of ISIS and the armed detachments of the Syrian Kurds), coupled with the growing contradictions between Ankara and Washington, objectively force President Erdogan to drift towards Russia and Iran. And Kremlin is perfectly using this chance, just trying to take Ankara along instead of worsening the present relations. On the contrary, as the result of aggressive and nationalistic rhetoric, Western countries are continuing to distance themselves for Turkey, leaving a vacuum for international orientation in the Turkish political discourse – the best situation for the spread of authoritarianism.

    In a few weeks the citizens of Turkey will decide whether to change the constitution to give the president almost unlimited, sultan's power for a decade and a half ahead. For some reason, President Erdogan is sure that he will receive this power, therefore he has already promised “a completely different Turkey”. And if this amendment comes into force, a country which at least on paper is democratic and secular, as well as a member of NATO and a candidate for EU membership, will change dramatically.

    In the beginning of 2010, Turkey was on the brink of turning into an ordinary European country – secular and open. It was ready to become a live example of the moderate Islam and strong democracy coexistence, but now it rushes to the Saudi-Iranian version with dense clericalism and irrepressible militarism. It seems that these days “still” partners have the last chance to influence such radical changes. Otherwise, when they will be looking for someone to blame, there will be nobody but themselves who is responsible for loosing the crucial moment of Turkish transformation.

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1 Comment

  1. Sandra Miller 2 years ago

    As the result of the constitutional Referendum President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed his victory, which marks a turning point in the turkish history. The Referendum marks also a new era in the EU-Turkey relations. In the run up to the referendum Erdogan threatened to let millions of Syrian refugees flood into Europe because the EU had failed to fulfil its promise on financial assistance and on visa-free travel. He also reacted angrily to the non-binding resolution of the EU Parliament to suspend EU accession talks with Turkey condemning the repressive measures taken in the aftermath of the failed coup in July 2016. These events mark indeed dramatic steps, which led to a worsening of relations between Turkey and the EU.
    Now, as a response to Europe Erdogan froze the process of a political association with the EU, letting everyone know that Turkey is not a "scapegoat". However, the EU should not burn the bridges with Turkey and instead rethink its strategies toward other powers reflecting the importance of its own values.

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