Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Erdoğan’s good cop/bad cop game

On an official visit in Berlin, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdoğan said today that his country "needs the EU but the EU also needs Turkey", reports the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Speaking at the German society for external policy, Erdoğan emphasized that it will impossible to shape the 21st century without Turkey, a fast growing 77-million-strong country.

But is Erdoğan still interested in Europe? Embroiled in a corruption scandal involving several members of his government and even one of his sons, Ankara's strongman is prompt to denounce a foreign plot against his rule. And he is sending regular messages that he is not happy with the way the EU treats his country.

The choice of Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu as minister of EU Affairs was widely considered as a hardening of Turkey's position with the EU. Erdoğan and Çavuşoğlu have since played a game of "good cop, bad cop", estimates Die Welt :
When Erdoğan goes on a European tour, Çavuşoğlu fires a sharply-worded public broadside, before Erdoğan shows himself in discussions willing to cooperate. So it was with Erdoğan's visit to Brussels a week ago. Çavuşoğlu blusteringly claimed a firm timetable for EU membership negotiations and a guarantee to membership. […] But in Brussels Erdoğan did some sweet-talking clay and promised under apparent considerable EU pressure to abandon his plan to make Turkish judiciary politically docile. It was one of those moments, as many liberal Turks said, when EU is good for something.

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