Erdoğan declares ambassadors persona non grata

Diplomatic relations between Turkey and the West have reached a new low. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has instructed his foreign minister to prepare the expulsion of ten ambassadors of Western countries including the US, Germany and France. Commentators take very different views on the repercussions.

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T24 (TR) /

How can Ankara negotiate now?

T24 wonders how relations with important political and economic partners can be conducted after the expulsions:

“Declaring these ambassadors persona non grata means at the same time cutting off relations with these countries - with the US, for example. How can Erdoğan, who us hoping for a meeting with US President Biden but is expelling his ambassador, still come together with Biden? And where and how is he supposed to talk to the other heads of state and government? How will he discuss Turkey-EU relations, which are already hanging by a thread, with the EU member states? ... Does Erdoğan, who is seriously fed up with the democratic demands of Western states and institutions, want to slowly turn his back on the West?”

Yeni Şafak (TR) /

Internal and external enemies united

The pro-government daily Yeni Şafak sees the demands of the ten embassies as part of an international conspiracy between the Turkish opposition and Western governments:

“We are at a very dangerous point. This matter now has an international political dimension. The opposition has stopped being just the political opposition. They have moved into the phase of 'multinational intervention'. All preparations are heading in this direction. The goal: to stop Turkey. This is the agenda of the US, Europe and those who are disturbed by Turkey's rise in the region.”

Handelsblatt (DE) /

Erdoğan has fallen into the trap

Ozan Demircan, Istanbul correspondent for Handelsblatt, says the Turkish president only stands to lose in this conflict:

“Now the ten affected states, including several EU members, can make the following argument: no diplomatic rapprochement before Kavala is released, no talks on a customs union before Kavala is released, no 'positive agenda' with the EU before Kavala is released, and no rapprochement with Washington before Kavala is released. ... Sure, the potential expulsion of the ten ambassadors may even be welcomed by some of his voters. But it won't help him in the end. Erdoğan has fallen into the West's trap.”

Kristeligt Dagblad (DK) /

Europe must protect its borders itself

Kristeligt Dagblad is categorical: the EU cannot rely on the support of such an autocrat:

“A desperate Erdoğan is also bad news for the EU, which is still open to blackmail because of the billion-dollar and morally dubious refugee deal with Turkey, which is becoming increasingly difficult to justify. Europe must protect its borders itself instead of putting all its eggs in the basket of an autocrat. Nato cannot dispense with Turkey, but Denmark and the nine other countries concerned are nevertheless sending an important signal to a post-Erdoğan Turkey. They must stand by their demand that Osman Kavala be given a fair trial.”

La Stampa (IT) /

We still have a long night ahead

The EU should think of the Turks, not just Erdoğan, writer Ayşe Kulin warns in La Stampa:

“In a year and a half elections will be held, both presidential and parliamentary. If we look at the polls, it is clear that the ruling party will suffer a defeat. ... With the massive devaluation of the lira, inflation and unemployment continuing to rise, we are in an unprecedented crisis. ... But we still have a long night ahead of us. ... I am convinced that Kavala, a great and patient man, will be released from prison in the near future. Europe can help us a lot. But it must bear in mind the whole of Turkey, not just the one man who occupies the Presidential Compound like an ivory tower.”