27.10.2021 Author: Vladimir Platov

Erdogan is the First to Put Western Ambassadors in their Place

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Recently, Western ambassadors, led by their respective governments, but mainly by Washington, began to interfere in the internal affairs of the states that accredited them. They impose the Western nations’ will and attitude, demonstrating the alleged firm hold and power the collective West has over other nations. Through their actions, they attempt to establish a new world order that benefits only the West, in open violation of Article 41 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. This convention is recognized by international law, stating that Foreign Diplomatic Missions should not interfere in the affairs of the host country.

And this is confirmed by the multiple incidents with such behavior on the part of Western Ambassadors. Thus, the German public has long been enraged by the cruel assessments and behavior of the US Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grennell, who constantly interferes in the internal affairs of Germany, and there have already been numerous calls for the Foreign Ministry of Germany to declare the head of the US Diplomatic Mission as persona non grata for interference in the republic’s internal affairs.

In Washington’s current political circus, the US Ambassadors continue to grab the spotlight and get a bad reaction from onlookers, as several media reports indicate. There are numerous examples of attempts by US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly C. Degnan to impose US external administration on Tbilisi. In line with an overtly army-like affirmative strategy, military troopers of the US Ambassadors to the countries of Central Asia are actively trying to interfere in the internal affairs of these nations and force them to unite in a military confrontation against Russia and China.

It has long been noticed that the candidates appointed to US and UK important diplomatic positions all have impressive experience of military or intelligence service, which in a way shows that the tasks these countries assign to their foreign representative offices are somewhat of military and strategic nature, rather than simply a diplomatic mission. The increasing presence of the US “military cavalry” among the country’s Ambassadors in the post-Soviet area has been a theme and a subject of many discussions by NEO’s authors. As has been the fact that many of them have specific objectives set by the White House to separate these countries from Russia by initiating various “colored revolutions”, protest demonstrations against the current authorities undesirable to Washington, and  increasingly pushing their own appointees into the new power structures of young independent post-Soviet states.

The USA actively persuades its NATO allies, especially Britain, to use similar templates in their activities of Western Diplomatic Missions. An obvious example of using this pattern described in media, is, in particular, the appointment of Charles Garrett, a former MI-6 intelligence officer who held a position of the Deputy Director of the intelligence service in charge of political issues, as the UK’s ambassador in Kyrgyzstan.

As OdaTV reported the other day, citing the Greek right-wing publication Estia, at a meeting with Greek politicians and media representatives, Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Kingdom to Greece, Turkey and Cyprus said: “Erdoğan’s days are numbered, everything is heading towards a change of power without bloodshed…,” after which they initiated a discussion on the current situation in Turkey and the non-bloodshed departure of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as President. Estia writes, “the exchange of views on the current situation in neighboring Turkey by three key UK figures, the Ambassadors in Athens, Nicosia and Ankara is not the usual practice, especially with such broad participation.” It calls the meeting organized by British Ambassador to Greece Matthew Lodge ‘extraordinary.’

Against this background, another manifestation of the US-led “joint position on Erdoğan’s policy” by the Ambassadors of several Western countries did not come as a surprise. In a joint statement issued by the US Embassy (!), the diplomats called on Ankara to implement the ECHR ruling by releasing businessman and human rights activist Osman Kavala, detained four years ago on charges of preparing a coup. The ambassadors stated that the protraction of the case “casts a shadow over respect for democracy, the rule of law and the transparency of Turkey’s judicial system.”

No wonder, in response to such defiance of international law and Article 41 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Ankara considered it to be interference in internal affairs and almost an insult to the Turkish leadership. The Turkish Foreign Ministry called the Ambassadors’ statement an ultimatum, saying, “no body, institution, authority or person can instruct and advise … courts or judges on the performance of their judicial duties.”

“Why are these ten Ambassadors making such statements? I told our Foreign Ministry that we do not have the luxury of hosting them in our country. Is it your business to give Turkey a lesson? Who are you people? Do you leave murderers, terrorists, and bandits in your countries? They always answer with, “The court is independent.” So your court is independent, and ours is not? Our judiciary is one of the nicest examples of independence,” Erdoğan said.

Whoever is watching Turkey and its President, and Ambassadors are supposed to do so, should have known how Erdoğan would react – harshly and unwilling to admit mistakes. Therefore, Erdoğan’s decision to declare the Ambassadors of the United States, Germany, France, Canada, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, and Norway, who had called on Turkey to free Kavala, personae non grata and to expel them from the country was predictable, in principle. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took a step that no leader in the history of world diplomacy has ever taken before. He ordered Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to expel the Ambassadors of the United States and nine other Western countries from the country in one stroke!

This decision of the Turkish President was undoubtedly not only a foreign policy decision but also a domestic one. Despite the significant risks, it was aimed at showing the firmness and confidence of the current Turkish president’s power.

Following Erdoğan’s move, a wave of criticism of the Turkish leader’s policies erupted in the West within hours, apparently hoping to provoke further discontent among the Turkish population. “The Turkish authorities should clarify the declaration of persona non grata of diplomats from ten countries, including the US Ambassador,” said a US State Department official. “We are aware of these reports and seek clarity from the Turkish Foreign Ministry.”

However, it soon became evident in Washington that their move to destabilize Turkey and damage Erdoğan’s credibility had failed. Apart from national and some foreign media paid out by the US authorities, there was little support to the 10 Western Ambassadors’ demarche. On the contrary, many countries, including Turkey, have been highly critical of Washington’s foreign pressure, supporting Erdoğan’s actions and authority.

In this regard, as early as Monday morning, the US Embassy and other Embassies were forced to state their commitment to non-interference by Ambassadors in the internal affairs of other countries under the Vienna Convention. “We’ve taken note of President Erdoğan’s most recent remarks. We will continue to promote the rule of law and respect for human rights globally The Biden administration seeks cooperation with Turkey on common priorities, and as with any NATO ally, we will continue to engage in dialogue to address any disagreement,” said US State Department spokesperson Ned Price.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan assessed the statement by the Ambassadors of ten countries, including Canada and the US, after the October 23 decision to expel them from the country as a “step backward.” He canceled the expulsion of Western Ambassadors and indicated that diplomats would be more careful in their statements after that. Erdoğan stressed that Turkish justice would not listen to any one’s orders, and the statements of the expelled Ambassadors were against Turkey’s sovereignty.

Undoubtedly, this incident will remain at the center of discussion in many countries for a long time, and will prompt some of them to stop being a wordless plaything in the hands of Washington-based string-pullers, while politicians will feel encouraged to respond to any attempts of the US and the collective West to dictate their will and interfere in the internal affairs of other independent states.

Vladimir Platov, expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.