A 180° turn is observed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who, as shown by his recent post on a popular microblogging site, has decided to take a step back from his usual aggressive policy in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, giving room to engage in a more diplomatic solution to the differences between Ankara, Athens and Nicosia.
According to diplomatic sources, the change in attitude of the Turkish president is mainly due to the threat of European sanctions.
All this time, Ankara has been playing the role of aggressor. Erdogan’s plan, however, hit a wall as France, following the de facto US withdrawal from what is happening in the East Med, is moving in to take control of this crucial geopolitical region.
The unwavering support of Macron in Greece and Cyprus against Turkish aggression throughout the past period has made it clear to Erdogan that EU sanctions will be imposed.
This time it was not a front or an ’empty’ threat – as has happened in the past – but an actual real threat to Turkish economy.
All these contributed to the about turn Erdogan has made who stated through a Twitter post on Saturday that “Turkey intends to give the greatest possible opportunity to diplomacy, with the aim of resolving issues through dialogue in a way that benefits all sides.
We are not going to pay attention to the successive challenges. Diplomacy now has the floor. With this vision, we will continue to defend every drop of our water and every inch of our land to the end”.
Biz, samimi her çağrıya kulak vererek diplomasiye olabildiğince alan kazandırmak, sorunları diyalog yoluyla herkesin kazanabileceği bir çözüme kavuşturmak niyetindeyiz. Ülkemizin bir damla suyunu da bir karış toprağını da bu vizyonla savunmayı sonuna kadar sürdüreceğiz.
— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) September 19, 2020
It was preceded by a Twitter post, symbolically written in Turkish, by French President Emanuel Macron, who sent a message to Ankara aimed at resuming dialogue on the East Med, a few days shy of the crucial EU Summit.
“In Ajaccio (at the recent MED7 Summit in Corsica), we sent a clear message to Turkey: let’s reopen a responsible dialogue, in good faith, without naivety”, Macron mentions in his post, adding that “this call is now also that of the European Parliament. It seems to have been heard. Let’s move on”.
Ajaccio’da, Türkiye’ye net bir mesaj gönderdik: iyi niyetli, naiflik olmaksızın sorumlu bir diyaloğu yeniden açalım. Bu çağrı bundan böyle Avrupa Parlamentosu’nun da çağrısı. Görünüşe göre de işitilmiş. İlerleyelim.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) September 19, 2020