A single image summed up the weaknesses of European diplomacy. It is a video sequence of a few seconds. We see Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, at his presidential palace in Ankara on Tuesday, April 6. There he receives the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council.
Three officers and only two chairs, for the two men. Annoyed, President Ursula von Der Leyen shows her disapproval and goes to sit on a sofa a little further away, which will be immediately baptized by the European press in #SofaDoor. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, took more than 24 hours to produce a press release to justify his passivity in the face of what was happening.
What does this scene really say? TO misogyny and rampant Islamism, that we are not finished with Erdogan and, what is more worrying, one more proof of the weakness of European diplomacy.
A trip that was to warm up relationships
The Turkish leader last week removed his country from the Istanbul international accord against violence against women. We were warned … As changeable as it may seem, when Erdogan toughens his regime and repression, the trip of the two most important leaders of the European authorities was to mark a way of warming relations with Turkey.
If Erdogan has changed his attitude lately, it is not because of European threats, so difficult to formulate, it is because Donald Trump is no longer in command. The new president of the United States, Joe Biden, is much less conciliatory with Turkey.
But Erdogan is still Erdogan. Behind this pause, there is also a European commitment: this 6 billion euros of funding to be extended to Erdogan to keep 3.5 million Syrian migrants in Turkey, so that they do not come to Europe. This is also European foreign policy, that of inconsiderate arrangements. A stuttering diplomacy that still struggles to be truly respected.
This episode is reminiscent of another, last year, when the head of European diplomacy had been humiliated. He was in the middle of a visit to Moscow from which he expelled at the same time three European diplomats, accused of supporting the opponent Alexeï Navalny. The same causes actually produce the same effects. When all European countries are not aligned in their response to Russia or Turkey, European diplomacy is weak, to the point of humiliation.