Former German Amb. to Turkey urges focusing attention on ‘day after’ Erdoğan

Europe must focus its strategic attention to the day after “Turkey’s current leadership runs out of steam,” wrote Martin Erdmann, who served as Germany’s ambassador to Turkey until two months ago.

In an article penned for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Erdmann said the signs of disintegration in Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s rule could not be overlooked, urging Europe to keep an eye out on Turkey post-Erdoğan, because “Turkey is still our partner.”

Erdmann slammed Erdoğan’s policies, saying the Turkish president employed “rampant domestic repression” and an “inflammatory rhetoric” that dominates foreign policy.

While “representatives of the Republic of Erdoğan” justify their authoritarian political agenda with the fight against the so-called deep state still being necessary, as evidenced by the July 2016 coup attempt, “today, after almost 20 years, this system has faltered due to typical disease symptoms of autocratic regimes, and is pityingly lit by the late evening sun of its existence,” the former ambassador said.

While some European Union member states, like France and Austria, believe Turkey’s bid for membership in the bloc should end, and others, like Greece and Cyprus, call for harsh sanctions, such an option would also “have undesirable side effects for the EU itself,” Erdmann said, and be an inspiration for further propaganda for Ankara about the enemies of Turkey.

What the EU should do is to “look ahead, beyond the horizon” of the remaining life of Erdoğan’s system, and “do everything possible to moderate further aggravations out of the way.”

Post-Erdoğan, “Turkey will remain our neighbour, partner and anchor of stability in one of the most restless regions in the world,” Erdmann said. “And the people in Turkey will be the same then as they are today.” The former ambassador called for caution to not let “the heat of the present” affect “hopes and longings for a long-term, fruitful cooperation between Europe and Turkey.”