Mustafa Kaya: "Putin, Biden and the diplomacy of the tete-a-tete"

Mustafa Kaya: "Putin, Biden and the diplomacy of the tete-a-tete"
Date: 5.10.2021 17:00

Milli Gazete columnist Mustafa Kaya writes on Biden-Putin-Erdoğan summit. Here is the full article.

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States have their secrets, of course. Well, there are subjects that no one should know about and that are not desired to be known by other countries in the world. However, it is an undisputed issue that a meeting held in front of the public and the results of which are curious should be followed as it should be, at least in terms of the institutional memory of the state.
Yes, I mean the meeting that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had with President Vladimir Putin during his last visit to Russia, in which there was no one but the interpreters.
State institutions do not fully know what decisions are taken on such issues as Idlib, Crimea, Russia's investments in Turkey, Syria, Libya, and the Eastern Mediterranean, and which raise Turkey's security concerns.
Ok, there may be disadvantages for the public to know, it is true, but neither the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of National Defense nor the National Intelligence Organization are aware of what is being said, as Putin said. Prof. Dr. Aleksandr Dugin, one of Putin's important advisers in foreign policy, commented on the meeting held in Sochi that "Turkey and Russia have now embarked on a new path." But do we know what kind of path we have embarked on as a country, and what kind of path this new path is?
I would also like to express that I am not trying to impose any weakness on Mr. President here. This also applies to every political personality. As a result, there is a meeting where the same language is not spoken and shaped by the information provided by the translators, no matter how expert they are. A meeting with another eye and ear would minimize communication accidents that are likely to occur. Also, if Putin specifically wanted to have a one-on-one meeting, as claimed, it means that very important problems have started to come to an end here. If not, we will have come to the point where there is neither a trustworthy minister nor an institution in the state, and then the only word to be said is "wow, it's happened to us". I know that this is not the case, I guess, but I do not think that the tradition of private meetings is not correct in terms of the continuity of the state's mind.
In addition, as it will be remembered, the meeting between the President of the United States of America Joe Biden and President Erdoğan during the NATO Summit last June was one-on-one. This interview was wrongly evaluated on the identity of the translator in Turkey, but the main focus was on the content, not this. In addition, according to the latest news from the agencies, President Erdoğan will again meet with Biden tete-a-tete at the G-20 Summit to be held at the end of October. It seems that such meetings are slowly becoming a tradition now. However, Mr. President, even if such a request comes from the other side, he should not hold the official meeting alone in order to relieve himself. Communication is a whole. Gestures, facial expressions, hand-arm movements are the elements that complete the words. A theater artist said in an interview that there are important reactive differences between insulting people with a laugh and insulting them with anger. Therefore, a meeting that will affect the fate of a country cannot be understood only with texts in which the words in the hands of the translators are written. The impression that different eyes get at the meeting may contain meanings beyond words. Also, if these tete-a-tete decisions are viewed as the natural result of the Presidential Government System, this in itself is enough to show that the system is not set up correctly.
Finally, it should be stated once again that states exist with their institutional memories. Success criteria of individual skills are evaluated according to how well they can operate institutions. Continuity is essential in the state. If the motto of "precious solitude", which has been falsely and meaninglessly put forward in foreign policy, has now come to the point where it attaches value to the private meetings of the President alone, this is not a reality that coincides with the diplomatic experience of a country like Turkey. Our hope and expectation is that the approaches that will make the tete-a-tete method permanent in foreign policy will be reviewed as soon as possible.


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