What President Biden calls leadership Michael Sahlin, a former Swedish diplomat with deep experience in Turkey thinks is more like a cat landing on its feet after falling out a window.
At the recent NATO summit in Madrid, US President Joe Biden made a joint appearance with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Speaking of Erdogan’s supposed agreement to accept Sweden and Finland in NATO and to find a solution to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Biden said, “I want to particularly thank you for what you did putting together the situation with regard to Finland and Sweden, and all the incredible work you’re doing to try to get the grain out of Ukraine and Russia. I mean, you’re doing a great job….it’s in large part because of your leadership. Thank you. I really mean it.”
Just a few months ago, Erdogan was isolated and largely ignored. He was on Biden’s no-call list. He had almost hostile relations with most of his neighbors, was being denied new western weapons systems, seemed close to armed conflict with Greece, and had unilaterally sent troops into Libya and Syria. Moreover, his economic mismanagement has produced domestic inflation of 75%, a currency in free fall, and an economy in tatters. Along the way, Erdogan has abused his political opposition, suppressed domestic liberties, squeezed migrants, and attacked Kurds in Turkey and elsewhere.
What Biden calls leadership, Michael Sahlin, former Swedish diplomat with deep experience in Turkey, thinks is more like a cat landing on its feet after falling out a window. What do you think? Listen as Sahlin discusses Erdogan’s amazing resilience—but without resorting to the “L word.”
ABOUT OUR GUEST Ambassador Michael Sahlin is a Distinguished Associate Fellow with the SIPRI European Security Programme and Coordinator of SIPRI’s Security Conference on Secure Cities in an Insecure World. Michael has held many roles in the political and diplomatic arena. As a Swedish diplomat, he was among others the Ambassador to Turkey, Azerbaijan, Spain, former Yugoslavia/Macedonia, Norway and various assignments at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was State Secretary in the Defence Ministry. In addition, he has also been the Swedish Special Envoy for Sudan/CPA. Dr. Michael Sahlin was the founder and first Director-General of the Folke Bernadotte Academy.