Lessons in diplomacy and human rights from Erdogan to the ambassadors of the West
Not long ago, we witnessed a rare event in the history of global diplomacy. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared ambassadors of ten countries “undesirable” and this news made headlines in the international media.
In fact, no country has ever expelled the ambassadors of ten countries by declaring them “persona non grata”. At first glance, this extraordinary event appears “crazy”, according to several news reports.
Only Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan can make this decision without caring about the reactions it might generate. Since this story fits with the picture that the Western media has tried to paint about Erdogan, this move was in fact expected of him.
In this type of crisis, the stronger countries usually try to prove the extent of their superiority. The goal is not to destroy the other party, but to subdue it. Either you feel submissive and humiliated, or you impose your presence and show your strength and accustom your interlocutor to dealing with you on an equal footing. Erdogan has demonstrated this time that Turkey will no longer accept superior dealings in diplomatic relations.
But Erdogan did not take this decision, which some described as “crazy”, out of a vacuum or on his own. Of course, the Turkish president will not refrain from taking controversial steps without a good reason. In fact, these ten ambassadors dared to interfere in the country’s internal affairs by issuing a statement asking the Turkish judiciary to end a live and ongoing case in Turkey, and this is pure madness.
If one ambassador exceeded the scope of his powers, the matter would have been different, but what happened is that ten ambassadors met and issued a collective statement in a first of its kind, a dangerous diplomatic transgression that cannot be tolerated or tolerated.
The missions of the ambassadors are to develop relations between the countries they represent and the host countries, to solve diplomatic problems and to promote mutual understanding, cooperative relations and commercial exchanges. The Vienna Convention also defines the powers of the ambassador and prevents him from interfering in any way in the internal affairs of the host country. However, the ambassadors of ten countries did not hesitate to interfere in Turkey’s affairs en masse by showing their rebellion against international norms as militants, and this behavior in itself is very provocative and goes beyond all the powers and rules that the ambassador should respect.
If these ambassadors, who have a duty to improve bilateral relations between their countries and Turkey, had thought of something that could harm diplomatic relations, they would not have found a better idea than issuing this collective statement. No matter how insane the Turkish president’s decision may be, it is illogical for a resolute leader like Erdogan to accept that his country’s sovereignty and independence be violated by this blatant act.
It is clear that Erdogan would not have allowed this illegal measure to go unnoticed, and he made the necessary decision. But the strange thing about what happened is that the Turkish president’s reaction stirred more controversy than the ambassadors did.
An interesting development that changed the course of events occurred a few days after the Turkish President announced the expulsion of the ambassadors of ten countries, their apology in a joint statement and their affirmation of respect for Turkey’s sovereignty. This incident ended with Erdogan consolidating his moral superiority and wise leadership. But the ambassadors’ apology for what they did raised some questions, most notably: Did these ambassadors not take Erdogan’s reaction into consideration?
It is clear from the apology of these ambassadors for their actions that the step they took was not well calculated, which leads us to question their political and strategic vision and their competence in reading events. In contrast, Erdogan’s decision cannot be considered radical or irresponsible. What happened would have caused a diplomatic crisis with dire consequences for Turkey and the countries represented by these ambassadors alike.
In this kind of crisis, the stronger countries usually try to prove the extent of their superiority, and the goal is not to destroy the other party, but to subjugate it. Either you feel submissive and humiliated, or you impose your presence and show your strength and accustom your interlocutor to dealing with you on an equal footing. Erdogan has demonstrated this time that Turkey will no longer accept superior dealings in diplomatic relations.
If their real problems are human rights and democracy as they always proclaim, and this was the premise that they claimed was the motive behind the joint statement in the Kavala case, then why do they not stand in solidarity with Palestinian journalists, writers and politicians detained for decades in Israeli prisons without anyone caring about their conditions of detention?
Are Turkish prisons now worse than Israeli prisons? Why did they not feel the need to make a joint statement even in one line when Egypt’s first elected president was imprisoned and left to breathe his last in the courtroom? Why did they not issue a single word about the tens of thousands of detainees who are dying in miserable conditions? Are these examples not more urgent cases in terms of the human rights and democratic values they advocate?
There is no doubt that depriving one person of his or her liberty is a serious problem, and this should never be ignored. But does the solution to these problems lie with the ambassadors of these countries that support all kinds of anti-democratic coups, authoritarian regimes and human rights violations?