Sunday, September 04, 2016

Angela Merkel is behaving like a Turkish Regional Governor

By way of background to the three previous Cathcon posts on the attitude of the German government to the Armenian genocide.

Three Turkish flags, two of them almost the height of a human being and a little German flag. A large crescent banner stands with the embroidered presidential star symbol behind Recep Tayyib Erdogan.

 The other is behind Angela Merkel.

It is as if the Chancellor is a Turkish governor. The small German flag on the table beside the Chancellor looks as if it was placed there at the last minute. It was if she had not expected to be present.

The meeting between the Chancellor and the President of Turkey took place however in Hangzhou / China. On neutral ground, between equal NATO partners - theoretically. The appearance looked more as if it were an audience for Merkel to bow down and ask for forgiveness from the Sultan in Ankara.

Discussion between Merkel and Erdogan

The Chancellor is at the G20 Gipel in Hangzou. Behind closed doors, Brexit, Syria, the refugee crisis and climate change are discussed. Even before the summit began, Angela Merkel met the Turkish President Erdogan.

Perhaps the Federal Chancellery found it appropriate to accept this setting. Perhaps it was easier in that way, to say to Erdogan: With the EU visa freedom for Turkish travellers as early as October, there will be nothing that helps including no Turkish ultimatum. In return, Turkey has dismissed after the coup, many professors and judges, arrested many journalists, too often spoken of the reintroduction of the death penalty.

Perhaps it was easier with the trade off on the matter of the flags, to say to Erdogan : German MPs get back access to the NATO base of Incirlik, or we have to move our aircraft into the Greek part of Cyprus.

Erdogan decides on Merkel's fate

Perhaps it was in this way without any problem to tell him: If the Bundestag condemns the centenary of the Armenian genocide, this is indeed a big annoyance for Ankara.

But the same parliament will vote one day on the visa freedom for Turks, and this vote could go wrong if Turkey continues to hamper the visit of the German parliamentarians. The federal government has no jurisdiction over Parliament.

All this could have been said. But there is also the other side of the coin. If Erdogan the EU-Turkey Agreement terminates the common refugee policy, he can decide Angela Merkel's political fate.

The historic decision by Angela Merkel

A year ago, Merkel allowed entry to refugees stranded in Hungary. At this time, escalation was threatened. Thousands of people had been walking on the road to Germany.

That the promise of the influx of refugees from autumn 2015 will be not repeated, depends as far as the uniform European asylum policy is concerned on whether Ankara continues to keep the border closed. The Turkish flag of the same height as a human being behind Merkel is also a symbol of extortion.

Sometimes this is so in foreign policy. But there is also on the German side a red line of self-respect. Berlin is not a Turkish provincial capital. To demonstrate this is also Merkel's task, and that to determine is a matter of course that will hopefully Erdogan will understand.


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