Paris and Berlin right to sell arms to Ankara?
Macron and Erdoğan signed a contract for the joint development of air defence systems on Friday in Paris. One day later German Foreign Minister Gabriel let it be known to his Turkish counterpart Çavuşoğlu that Germany was considering resuming weapons deliveries. Journalists are incensed.
Criticism of Turkey is mere lip service
The fact that France is striking weapons deals with Turkey undermines all criticism of the country's democracy deficit, Hürriyet Daily News rails:
“It is not surprising that Macron's priority of selling defense technology and equipment overcame any concerns about Turkey's democracy. ... Indeed, President Erdoğan and various non-Western leaders are justified in thinking they can get away with suspending so-called universal rights and freedoms while continuing to work with Westerners who claim to be representatives of those principles. They are right: It is weapons and money that come first; lip service to political principles is paid simply to keep up appearances.”
No dirty deals, please!
For the Frankfurter Rundschau it would be a scandal if the resumption of weapons deliveries were made contingent on the release of German journalist Deniz Yücel:
“What's certain is that Yücel must be freed, as must all those imprisoned in Turkey either because like him they were doing their job or because they're political opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. These are not crimes. And that is precisely why the release of the prisoners is non-negotiable. It would be a very dirty deal if Erdoğan were rewarded for good behaviour with weapons deliveries. And Erdoğan would certainly exploit it.”
Using carrot and stick approach with autocrats
Despite the weapons deal with Ankara Macron has criticised Erdoğan for failing to respect the rule of law in Turkey and rejected further EU accession negotiations. The French president has his own way of dealing with autocratic leaders, Le Monde writes:
“This consists of receiving high-level autocrats with full honours - or visiting them with much pomp and circumstance - and then using the joint press conference to hold his head high and lay down the law to his visitors. ... The question is of course what he expects to achieve. Coming out of such meetings with one's head held high is one thing, but gaining any concrete advantage from such behaviour is quite another. The future will show whether receiving Putin and Erdoğan has led to any progress on the topic of Syria, for example.”