Chancellor congratulates Erdogan immediately – a heavy blow for Baerbock

A “turning point” in Germany’s relationship with Turkey, as demanded by the Green Minister of the Greens, Cem Özdemir, who is of Turkish origin, is not in sight either in terms of foreign or domestic policy. After his re-election, the Islamist and nationalist Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has more or less free rein.

Scholz’ reaction shows that value-based foreign policy is an illusion

Once again, the “value-based foreign policy” favored by the Greens turns out to be an illusion. Because: Chancellor Olaf Scholz was the first top German politician to congratulate Erdogan on his re-election, right after the Afghan religious terrorists from the Taliban.

The social democrat said not a word about: the violation of human rights in Turkey, the denial of the genocide of the Armenians, the Sunnis’ claim to power in Turkish society, the oppression of Christians, but also of Alevis, and of the Turks in Germany as well manipulated election campaign, rampant Islamism or nationalism.

Interest-driven realpolitik. The journalist and documentary filmmaker Can Dündar, who fled to Germany from Turkey, then accused Scholz of “complicity” with Erdogan.

Özdemir tried to make a comparison with Putin, in whose case nobody in Germany thought a “turn of the era” was possible. The difference: A “decoupling” of Germany from Turkey, unlike a decoupling from Russia, is not possible. In the relationship between Germany and Turkey, it is not (green) morality that counts, but hard interests.

Erdogan will succeed

No one made that clearer as quickly as a colleague from Scholz. US President Joe Biden announced that he had discussed the delivery of American F-16 fighters during his congratulatory call to Erdogan.

This marks a deal that is also in Germany’s interest: the United States will deliver what Erdogan has been asking for for a long time, namely the highly potent F-16 aircraft. In return, Erdogan clears the way for Sweden to join NATO. So far, Erdogan has blocked them – referring to the tolerance that Sweden grants to Turkish Kurds, who are “terrorists” from the point of view of the Turkish autocrat.

The accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO is a consequence of the illegal war of aggression against Ukraine unleashed by Vladimir Putin. NATO is growing and at the same time is getting a lot closer to the Russian border, a drastic defeat for Putin.

Erdogan will eventually succeed in his blackmail: he gets the F-16s, which, paradoxically enough, will increase tensions between Turkey and another NATO member. With four percent of the gross domestic product, no NATO country invests as much money in defense as Greece. Which is due to the decades-old opposition to Türkiye.

The difference between interest-based and value-based foreign policy becomes clear

But for NATO, especially for the Americans, Turkey is a more important partner than Greece. The Americans also turn a blind eye to this. And let Turkey get away with Erdogan getting a Russian anti-missile defense system from America’s system enemy Putin.

The difference between interest-based and value-based foreign policy can be well studied using Turkey as an example. It consists in the fact that value-based foreign policy changes little or nothing, but interest-based foreign policy does. Sweden’s foreseeable membership in NATO will be a striking example of this.

This could not have been achieved with good will alone or moralizing speeches. Value-based foreign policy has the advantage that you can present yourself to your own supporters as a representative of the “right attitude” – free of charge.

Value-based foreign policy is important to Baerbock

The contrast in concepts is also a contrast in political personnel. The China policy has already shown that the Chancellor wants nothing to do with the moral approach that the Green Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is pursuing and which is so important to her. A China strategy of the federal government has therefore been on hold for months.

In Turkey, after Erdogan’s success, nationalism in combination with the political Islam propagated by the autocrat is likely to intensify. Erdogan now has more support for both than before, not least because of the behavior of his opponent Kilicdaroglu, who wanted to overtake Erdogan just before the election day.

The Istanbul mayor promised to throw the four million Syrian refugees taken in by Turkey out of the country. If Kilicdaroglu had won the election, that would have triggered their mass flight towards Europe – target country number one: Germany.

The Greens had called for Erdogan not to be elected. The extremist behavior of the Erdogan opponent exposed their hopes for a democratic change in Turkey as an illusion. This also shows that wanting to do politics with hope can go really wrong.

There will be no turning point

The turning point in Germany’s relationship with Turkey demanded by Cem Özdemir after Erdogan’s election victory will remain a pious illusion. Olaf Scholz, the holder of the authority to set guidelines, is a real politician, not a moral one. Germany needs Turkey, also for the refugee deal that Angela Merkel (CDU) had already made with Erdogan.

Erdogan not only has free rein in Turkey itself and in foreign policy, his hundreds of thousands of supporters in Germany have it too. Thanks to the appeasement of German politics, which has long been largely uncritical and cross-party, following a green integration narrative.

Jean Harris

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