How do you react to an expulsion of ambassadors that has been threatened by the highest authorities but has not been carried out?

Both NATO and the EU kept a low profile on Monday.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was approached at a press conference with the Finnish President about the threat made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday.

There are contacts between Turkey and the ten countries whose ambassadors are to be expelled, said Stoltenberg.

As long as one does not know the result of these discussions, he cannot comment on it.

The spokesman for the EU's foreign affairs officer, Josep Borrell, had a similar view.

Six of the ten countries are EU members, seven are NATO members, including the United States.

Thomas Gutschker

Political correspondent for the European Union, NATO and the Benelux countries based in Brussels.

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Rainer Hermann

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Johannes Leithäuser

Political correspondent in Berlin.

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The spokesman for the federal government, Steffen Seibert, said that the events in Ankara were viewed “with concern and incomprehension”. German-Turkish relations are a "very important relationship" for German foreign policy. The Foreign Office stated that the Turkish President's announcement was “at odds with the depth and importance of bilateral relations”. However, “diplomatic channels” have not yet received any notification of a declaration by the German ambassador on persona non grata or of expulsion. When asked whether the Turkish ambassador had been called in, it was only said that all reactions in this matter would be closely coordinated with the partner countries concerned. They had been in contact with Washington and Paris "several times" over the weekend.

Is the reluctance of the governments concerned paying off?

By late Monday afternoon, there was signs of relaxation.

During the day, the ten ambassadors wrote a statement stating that they were complying with Article 41 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and not interfering in the internal affairs of the host country.

The Turkish state news agency Anadolu then reported, citing the presidential office, that Erdogan had received the statement positively.

The commentary headline on the message read: "The US embassy has given in." The ambassadors had "backed out" and "will be more careful in the future," said Erdogan.

The federal government saw no interference in internal affairs

The German government had previously insisted that the joint appeal by the ten ambassadors for the release of the opposition activist Osman Kavala was within the framework of international law and was in no way to be seen as interference in Turkey's internal affairs. Seibert recalled the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights from September 2019, which ordered the release of Kavala. As a member of the Council of Europe, Turkey is also subject to the judgments of the Court of Justice. In diplomatic relations between states, it is "a matter of course to remind people to comply with international obligations".

The foreign policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group, Bijan Djir-Sarai, said the EU had to find a "robust answer";

this also includes the option to expel the Turkish ambassadors from European countries.

The foreign policy spokesman for the Union parliamentary group Jürgen Hardt said he hoped that Erdogan's announcements could be “cured by moderate words and appropriate action” by the Turkish foreign minister.

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