Erdoğan: Turkey's future is with Europe

Over the past few days Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has repeatedly professed his commitment to Europe, at the G20 summit and on other occasions. Turkey's future is in Europe, the Turkish president said, although in recent weeks he had repeatedly railed against European values and politicians. Commentators seek explanations for this change of tone.

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Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Just tactics - and leverage for Brussels

The European Union should not be deceived by Erdoğan's soothing words, writes the Tagesspiegel's Turkey correspondent, Susanne Güsten:

“Erdoğan is playing the reformer because he wants to avoid sanctions. With this strategy he hopes to prevent the collapse of the economy and secure his power. The Turkish economic crisis is giving the European Union leverage with which it can exert effective pressure on Erdoğan - Europe should also seize this opportunity. ... If the EU allows itself to be fobbed off with a few symbolic gestures from Turkey, it will only be a matter of time before the next crisis breaks out - and Europe is left without any means of influencing the situation. ... Turkey needs the EU, its largest trading partner, more than ever.”

Milliyet (TR) /

Give diplomacy a chance

The European Union should take Erdoğan's words seriously, says Milliyet:

“Voices from Europe have shown in the past few days that Turkey-EU relations are once again headed for stormy times. At the EU summit on 10 December drafts for sanctions against Turkey will be discussed. ... However, the EU should carefully consider the negative consequences of such a decision. It would drive Ankara away from the EU for good and cause serious friction with Greece and France. ... In this respect it would be advantageous for the EU heads of state and government and the current president of the Council, Chancellor Merkel, to tackle this critical issue not with harsh words, but with a more realistic approach that gives diplomacy a chance.”

Kommersant (RU) /

His actions tell a different story

Erdoğan's aggressive foreign policy on issues such as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the gas dispute or Cyprus is both the cause of the misery and a distraction from it, Kommersant writes:

“The more militaristic speeches and actions we see from Erdoğan, the further Turkey moves away from economic expansion, which would be a real sign of growing influence. The country's recent economic woes are just another confirmation of this. ... There are several reasons for this: firstly, the classic diversion from serious problems, the 'game for home consumption'. ... Secondly, creating the illusion of 'building a new empire' serves as the basis for Erdoğan to further expand his own powers. And most importantly: it is much more difficult to formulate a new model than to milk the last relics of social consciousness.”