Baerbock in Greece and Turkey
During her trip to Turkey, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock clearly deviated from the diplomatic customs of her country's previous government: in Istanbul she exchanged blows with her Turkish counterpart Çavuşoğlu over Turkey's actions in northern Syria, human rights and the island dispute with Greece. Her visit to Athens, by contrast, was less confrontational. The press is divided.
This balancing act could work
The Frankfurter Rundschau applauds Baerbock:
“Plain language is always more refreshing than the usual diplomatic contortions - and in states where the opposition is suppressed it helps if autocratic government representatives as well as the public hear a few clear words from state guests. The problems start when directness is cultivated primarily as a brand, and all subtlety and knowing when it's better to exercise restraint than take the bull by the horns are lost. Baerbock has managed to find the right balance so far. This could work well as long as she remains focused on the matter at hand.”
Plain talk was also called for in Athens
Baerbock was too selective in her criticism, the taz criticises:
“In the area where she really could have accomplished something, illegal pushbacks of refugees by the Greek coast guard and Frontex, she stopped talking turkey. Instead of taking the opportunity to confront Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis about the intentional, systematic pushbacks she downplayed the scandal, citing 'individual cases' that needed to be investigated. Probably because anything else would have caused real trouble with Brussels and in her coalition at home.”