Matthew Karnitschig, POLITICO’s chief Europe correspondent, argues in Politico that Europe deserves Erdoğan’s sofa, as the Turkish president put EU’s fragile psyche on the couch recently.
The editorial correctly points out that Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s quarantining of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to his receiving room sofa in Ankara last week united the fractious Continent — in outrage.
Amid the gaudy décor of Erdoğan’s fake sultan’s palace, the choreography evoked an absurdist painting: at the center of the action, the Turkish president, with his trademark man-spread on full display seated next to a jittery Charles Michel, the president of the European Council; across the room, perched upright on a sofa, von der Leyen in a neat red blazer, a picture of the well-bred German Frau, hands neatly clasped in her lap, in silent defiance.
The image absolutely enraged Europeans, left, right and center. Iratxe García Pérez, leader of the Socialists & Democrats group in the European Parliament, called von der Leyen’s treatment “shameful.” Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, a man famous for his temperate tone, made no effort to disguise his anger over what he described as von der Leyen’s “humiliation,” comparing Erdoğan on Thursday to a “dictator.”
All because of a sofa? Not exactly.
Karnitschig exposes the weak points of the European Union “mega” structures when handling sensitive diplomatic endeavors, and highlights the real heart of the problem which faces all those Europeans who are currently complaining about von der Leyen’s handling in Ankara
“The European reaction is typical of people plagued by feeling inadequate and powerless. Instead of acknowledging Europe’s continued reliance on Turkey to keep migrants off the Continent and the questionable concessions the EU has made to keep that arrangement alive, they focus on style, manners — and especially their particular definition of “morality.” ” – argues Karnitschig.