Recently, it has been the most inert period in EU – Turkey relations since 1999. The negotiation process that started in 2005 seems to be deadlock for the last few months.
We haven’t even noticed -or maybe we ignored- the fact that Ambassador Stefano Manservisi, the previous EU High Representative to Turkey returned back to Brussels for a more prestigious mission only six months after he came to Ankara, and thus it has been 8 months without an EU Commissioner in Turkey.
It was a problematic situation for the EU as well to leave such an important mission position in Ankara vacant for such a long time. Short before the general elections in June, the EU’s new Ankara representative was decided. However, the name the EU offered agreement for was such a coincidence that actually has a lot of analogy with Turkey’s current political situation.
European Commission will be represented in Turkey by German diplomat Ambassador Hansjörg Haber. Mr. Haber was the German Ambassador in Beirut, Lebanon from 2007 to 2009. His most recent position before being appointed to Ankara was the German Ambassador to Cairo, Egypt. It is really interesting that a German diplomat with a good command of Arabic and Persian languages is the new EU representative in Ankara. In fact, Mr. Haber was the Political Counsellor of German Embassy in Ankara from 1992 to 1996, and he already learnt some Turkish back then. So, he seems to be a good communicator in Turkey and the Middle East.
The coincidence is in the chronology of Mr. Haber’s biography: The first time Mr. Haber was appointed to Ankara in 1992, the 49th government, the coalition of DYP-SHP welcomed him in Turkey, and Süleyman Demirel was the Prime Minister, and Erdal İnönü was the Deputy Prime Minister. Later, when Turgut Özal died and Süleyman Demirel became the President of Turkey, Mr. Haber saw 7 different coalitions, 3 of Tansu Çiller, 2 of Mesut Yılmaz and 1 of Necmettin Erbakan. In brief, he experienced the coalitions period of Turkish politics.
Interesting enough, Ambassador Haber is back in Turkey when the new government is to be made through coalition again. We will see how many governments and elections he will see this time!
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