Global Affairs

Middle-power lessons from Turkey

Whether it is the EU, US, Russia or China, President Erdogan has annoyed them all. But his power lies in carefully calibrating confrontation with cooperation, knowing they need Turkey more than Turkey needs them.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan believes that he can leverage his country's room to manoeuvre at every stage and in every direction, says the author.PHOTO: AFP

"Ehmm…" - European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen's irritated expression was clearly picked up by media microphones when, at the start of formal diplomatic negotiations in Turkey recently, she found herself without a seat. There were just two in the room - one was occupied by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while the other chair was given to the other top official who came with her for the visit, European Council president Charles Michel.

Instead, Ms von der Leyen was offered a nearby sofa, some distance away from Messrs Michel and Erdogan, who then proceeded to "manspread" themselves over the huge armchairs, facing each other.

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