December 8, 2021

Arunachal Front

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According to Iris’ deputy director, “Erdogan has stirred up nationalist fiber to try to unite his electorate.”

“Again, Erdogan is stirring up nationalist threads in an attempt to unite his electorate.”On Sunday, October 24, France Info Didier Pillan analyzed the Deputy Director of the Institute for International and Strategic Relations (Iris). On Saturday, October 23, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the expulsion of ten ambassadors from the West (France, the United States, Germany, Canada, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden). Countries demanding the release of enemy Osman Guard have been jailed for four years without trial and accused of plotting to overthrow the Turkish regime since 2013.

franceinfo: Seven of the ten countries targeted by Erdogan are part of NATO, hence Turkey’s allies. Why is he attacking them?

Didier Billan: Ten are part of the OECD, six are in the European Union, and five are Turkey’s key economic partners. Erdogan wants to attack hard. Today, he is in a very complicated domestic political situation, with polls all indicating the intent of about 30% of the vote, and the presidential election took place in Turkey two years ago. This deviation of its traditional electorate is explained by the very deteriorating economic situation today. So all means are good, and once again, Erdogan is stirring up a sense of nationalism in his attempt to unite his electorate. There he had an excuse: October 18 marks the fourth anniversary of the arrest of Osman Guard. Erdogan seems to be doing everything he can to re-weld his electorate in the course of interference in internal affairs and especially Turkish justice, but this has nothing to do with the reality of Turkish justice.

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What will be the consequences of this dismissal of ten ambassadors working daily in Turkey?

In diplomatic terms, in general, the answer is symmetrical. Turkish ambassadors from the ten countries involved may be recalled to Ankara. The crisis is being exploited for domestic political reasons. Erdogan is playing an infinitely dangerous game because he hates routine diplomatic practices. The countries concerned are of capital importance to the Turkish economy and its political relations. This is a very dangerous game because he needs to unite his voters.

With the stances taken against Emanuel Macron, relations with France over the years have been very tense. Is France a special case for Erdogan?

Especially last year, in 2020, bilateral relations between France and Turkey deteriorated significantly, and the findings, almost insulted on both sides, made it ineligible for inter-state relations. Things had calmed down a bit, the tensions had subsided, and were less. In the Turkish press, which is close to power, attacks against France are carried out almost every day, so it must be admitted that they have diminished since last year, but the tension is still high. We think Erdogan could capture a small excuse to renew the tense climate between the two countries, and more broadly, with other countries involved.