July 28, 2021

In the United States and the EU, Erdogan’s return to favor, at odds with Putin

Galvanized by his return to favor at the last NATO summit on June 14, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is feeling wings growing. After speaking by telephone with Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, on Monday, June 21, he urged the European Union to “Implement a positive agenda” with his country.

“Turkey has done more than it should. Now it’s the EU’s turn [Union européenne] to take concrete measures ”, says the statement issued by the Turkish presidency after the telephone interview. The conversation took place before the European Council held on Thursday 24 and Friday 25 June where the relations of the Twenty-Seven with Turkey will be discussed.

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Satisfied with her “Good conversation” with the Turkish number one, Ursula von der Layen listed the topics that were discussed, among others the agreement on migrants that the EU intends to maintain. As part of this, Brussels has allocated more than 6 billion euros (4.1 billion euros disbursed, 2 billion to come) to help the 3.7 million Syrian refugees hosted on Turkish soil. An additional envelope of 3.5 billion euros will be allocated to Turkey for the reception, which is prolonged, of Syrians having fled the war in their country.

There is no shortage of disagreements

There was also talk of updating the customs union treaty that Ankara wants to see renewed. “Without preconditions” and the role that Turkey could play in Afghanistan, where its troops will be responsible for securing the Kabul airport, after the departure of American and foreign troops from the country.

At the last Alliance summit, US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron were particularly lenient with Turkey’s number one. For Ankara’s traditional allies, it is above all important to put Turkey back into the Western game, to appease its expansionist inclinations, to forget the undiplomatic behavior and the growing authoritarianism of its president.

This comeback is a godsend for Mr. Erdogan, whose internal popularity continues to wane against the backdrop of an economic crisis reinforced by the pandemic. “We believe we have opened the doors to a new era with the United States on a positive and constructive basis”, he said Monday after chairing a cabinet meeting.

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