Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan “welcomed” statements on Monday by several Western embassies including the United States that they abide by a diplomatic convention not to interfere in a host country’s internal affairs, state-run media said. The official announcement not to declare 10 ambassadors persona non grata will probably be made after today’s Cabinet meeting, which President Erdogan chairs. Turkey’s currency TL gained almost 1% vs the US dollar on news of compromise.
The statements were made almost simultaneously on Twitter as Erdogan entered a cabinet meeting to discuss expelling ambassadors from 10 embassies, a move that would open Turkey’s deepest diplomatic rift with the West in his 19 years in power.
“The United States notes that it maintains compliance with Article 41 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” the U.S. Embassy said on Twitter.
Canada, Netherlands and New Zealand each sent a similar message, while Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland re-tweeted the U.S. message. There was no apparent statement from the German or French embassies on Twitter.
State-run Anadolu news agency, citing sources in the presidency, reported that Erdogan had “welcomed” the statements. Anadolu and state broadcaster TRT described the statements as “a step back” by the embassies.
The joint twitter statements of countries the ambassadors of which faced expulsion does not constitute a step-back on their near-ultimatum to have humanitarian and philanthropist Mr Osman Kavala to be released. It is merely a courteous reply to Erdogan’s accusations of foreign states meddling in Turkey’s internal affairs.
The event demonstrated once again how unpredictable and volatile President Erdogan is. He may have survived this self-engineered crisis, but at the cost of allied nations, businesses and investors realizing fully that his reign is synonymous with “uncertainty”.
New tests of rationality and capacity to compromise wait around the corner. Erdogan is schedule to meet US President Biden at the end of October at the sidelines of Rome G20 summit. He will be urged to mothball Russian-made S-400 anti-missile systems. Refusal could compel US Congress to insist an additional CAATSA sanctions. Neither is the Osman Kavala affair “closed”. Heads of member states of Council of Europe will meet in November, where Turkey is almost certain to be censored for keeping him in jail. Council of Europe may even suspend Turkey’s membership. Finally, only last week FATF put Turkey on its infamous gray list, which implies suspicion of benign negligence to international bank fraud and money laundering.
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