“The EU will continue to be trampled on if it does not discover the virtues of the balance of power”

FIGAROVOX / TRIBUNE – During the meeting between the representatives of the European Union and the Turkish President, the President of the European Commission was deprived of a seat. For essayist Christian Makarian, Europe will continue to be despised by the Turkish leader as long as it flouts its own principles.

Christian Makarian is an international relations specialist and essayist. He notably published Genealogy of the disaster, Finding wisdom in the face of the unforeseeable (Éditions du Cerf).

Call it the “suffagate“Or the”surprise couch“, The episode which saw the president of the European Commission humiliated by a Turkish president with a theatrically closed face shows that Recep Tayyip Erdogan has, once again, succeeded in making people talk about him in the sense he wants: a man strong which belittles its interlocutors.

Everyone will judge the level thus reached to deal with the major questions of this world. For sure, even the least keen on international news will remember what happened in Ankara. It was the desired goal.

This is how the sad glory of this autocratic system is built: not by the happiness of the people, by economic success or by international influence, not by peace with its neighbors or by the attractiveness of this great country that is Turkey, but by the capacity of a leader to produce primary images which excite his electorate.

Beyond the staging, obviously premeditated, there is in this pathetic scene much more than machismo; there is the demonstration of a diplomatic impasse.

Turkish diplomacy, strong in the great tradition of the Sublime Porte and yet expert in starched salamalecs, had frankly accustomed us to better than that.

Beyond the staging, obviously premeditated, there is in this pathetic scene much more than machismo; there is the demonstration of a diplomatic impasse. It would be wrong to reduce this incident to the desire to emphasize the supremacy of the reign of men over women in accordance with the pitiful reading that Islamists make of the Koran.

It is true that this moment of contempt is in line with Turkey’s exit from the Istanbul Convention against violence against women, decided on March 19; one can see there a desire to drive the point home for electoral purposes and, since it is a tactic, one must expect other humiliating steps.

But as unpleasant as this moment was for Madame von der Leyen, it far surpasses her kind and strong gracious person. And feminist indignation, just as justified as it is, does not give the full measure of the seriousness reached that day. It is the real state of Europe which should also indignant us.

Erdogan has for him to be coherent; this is not the case with Europe. Erdogan satisfies his base; Europe flouts its own principles. Erdogan continues to advance in offense; Europe continues to retreat because of its pseudo-friendliness. Erdogan defined the level of language for negotiations; Europe is still looking for the right way to talk to it. Erdogan ended up embodying Turkey; Europe has no incarnation.

Erdogan understands that the multiplication of his mood swings allows him to let the threat hover and thus obtain a better entry into any negotiation.

Since September 12, 1963 and the signing of the Ankara agreement creating an association between the EEC and Turkey, the European concept has been to repeat tirelessly that Turkey is an important partner. That is true ; and the war in Syria, like the issue of migrants, added a dramatic dimension to it.

But as a result, the Union puts itself in a state of subjection by appearing to fear that one day or another Ankara will get angry for good and slam the door. How would that be possible knowing how closely Turkey is dependent on Europe? In Brussels, as in Berlin, people seem to fear Turkey and its worst internal impulses; As long as this is the case, Europeans will remain suspended from the internal political life of this country, which is particularly turbulent and unpredictable. This line is very directly dictated by Angela Merkel, follower of any compromise as long as a crisis is avoided.

But here too, Erdogan has fully understood that the multiplication of his mood swings allows him to maintain the tension, to let the threat hover and thus obtain a better entry into any negotiation. It is this logic that must now be reversed in order to achieve a rationalized level of discussion.

It is high time to change the prism and move from the primacy granted to economic interests, which corresponded to the first definition of Europe as an EEC, to a Union mainly sealed by respect for fundamental values.

However, the authorities in Brussels give the impression that they are afraid that proclaiming the principles of the Union will lose the previous gains, in particular with regard to the hot topic of migrants.

Europeans have every interest in clarifying their demands, in particular as regards respect for fundamental rights within the country.

This contradiction, maintained by the attitude of Madame Merkel, is perfectly understood and exploited by Erdogan for his benefit. With Turkey, favoring dialogue on the conflict cannot be done at any cost. As long as Europe does not discover the virtues of the balance of power, it will continue to be trampled on.

Since it is currently a question of the modernization of the customs union agreement which binds Turkey to the Twenty-seven, and from which Ankara derives immense profit, the opportunity is provided to change gear and ask new conditions. Since the Turkish leader proclaims the opening of a “positive agendaEuropeans have every interest in clarifying their demands, in particular with regard to respect for fundamental rights within the country.

Since, finally, the relationship between the United States and Turkey is changing and Joe Biden is completely different from Donald Trump with regard to Erdogan, a new phase is emerging. It is this change of atmosphere in Washington that decided Erdogan to announce a “positive agendaWith regard to Europe, there is no coincidence.

To date, the US President has spoken more severely than the European Union towards the Turkish regime and the continuing human rights violations in Turkey.

Will Europe end up trailing behind the United States on a subject that concerns its immediate neighborhood?

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