N. Peter Kramer’s Weekly Column
Devil Donald Trump is driven out of the White House and Saviour Joe Biden has taken up residence; to the delight of almost all EU leaders and many others. Last week the new US President sent his right hand, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, to the European Council, to bring his instructions. For instance, to follow him and punish China with sanctions. The EU obeyed immediately without batting an eyelid, despite the recently applauded investment deal made by the three top EU leaders with President Xi Jinping.
What Biden’s messenger told the EU to do with Turkey has also become clear. Until recently, Turkish President Recep Erdogan was considered in ‘Brussels’ to be a kind of a dictator, deteriorating democratic standards in his country, causing maritime disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean and taking the wrong position in regional conflicts notably in Syria and Libya. But, suddenly, ‘the European Council opened what could be a new chapter in EU-Turkey relations. EU leaders are ready to engage on important avenues of cooperation including the modernisation of the Customs Union, the relaunching of high-level dialogues, plus strengthened cooperation on migration management’, according to a blog from Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Vice-President of the European Commission.
‘We have to build a bridge’, Borrell said. President Biden will be content with the EU’s U-turn. He wants to save NATO; and Turkey is a cornerstone for that organisation given its geographical location and its (certainly by EU standards) impressive armed forces.