On Tuesday afternoon, Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a friendship attack on Emmanuel Macron. In practice, he suggested that Turkey and France sit at the same table and search for them, and share the “cake” in the region of direct interest to both countries: the southeastern Mediterranean and the Maghreb in North Africa.
Erdogan even cited a historical fact to reinforce his argument that Paris and Ankara would rather work together than be in perpetual conflict: the completion of a century since the signing of the Ankara Treaty on October 20, 1921, which effectively recognized the power of the new Turks instead of the Sultan holding peace with them in the Middle East and enabling them to The transfer of powerful military units to the Western Front – which accelerated the defeat of the Greek army.
Evolution, of course, was not a thunderbolt. It was a natural follow-up to the messages exchanged between the two presidents in January – Macron wrote “Dear Tajib” at the time – in which he pledged to revive the bilateral dialogue and seek rapprochement.
In no way does this mean that the relations between the two rivals will normalize or, much more, they will communicate and cooperate on all the open fronts on which they have clashed up until now – Syria and Libya and the exploitation of the natural wealth in our country. Mediterranean and much more.
None of the above is, of course, due to the personality and whims of the two leaders, as some say and write, arguing that unbridled selfishness obscures their minds and does not allow them to calmly deal with the situation. It is also not true that there is no way they can reconcile after the heavy accusations they exchanged – like, for example, Erdogan’s statement last year Μα about Macron’s mental problems!
Their confrontation, on the contrary, is the result of cold calculations regarding the geopolitical interests of the two countries and the domestic political priorities of their leaders. And the Washington Post wrote on October 27 proving the truth: “Macron vs. Erdogan, a battle for the two leaders.” France 24 reported on December 6 that “Macron and Erdogan could be the perfect competitors”.
The rationale for these analyzes is clear: the two presidents consciously choose to cross the swords, knowing that the stakes are great and extremely high. In NATO, for example (where their conflict began in 2019, not to be forgotten), the gradual withdrawal of the United States from the position of absolute ruler leaves loopholes and heralds new balances, as it is logical that France and Turkey aspire to strengthen their position. .
In the blazing zone in our region as well, the apparent improvement of Turkey’s role and France’s ambition to return to a leadership role objectively brought their heads to opposite camps, with controversies over energy, trade, construction, arms sales and much more.
On the other hand, within borders, because of the problems that both are facing, it is absolutely necessary that they direct their attention elsewhere. Erdogan appears to be the protector of Islam and Muslims in Europe and France, which he did categorically on the occasion of the recent issuance of the law. To convince Macron that he is at the forefront of the fight against cultural decline in Europe, Islamic terrorism and the undermining of the people’s state – especially in the run-up to the 2022 elections, when he will once again face Marine Le Pen.
There is no doubt, then, that all this cannot and will not be resolved by a conference call, or even by a meeting, if this is done in the near future. After all, the bills that Turkey and France have to settle are very large and the distance between insults and insults is very small.
Confrontation and dialogue will continue to alternate in the relationship between the two, but it is difficult to reach agreement on everything, at least in the near future.