Diplomatic intrigue is adding spice to the newest Turkey-EU fight, as the EU’s man in Ankara has resigned in a huff. The WSJ reports:
Ambassador Hansjoerg Haber, who arrived in Ankara less than a year ago, has resigned over issues “having to do with Turkey” and not for personal reasons, an EU official in the Turkish capital said.
Mr. Haber, who was appointed to Ankara on Aug. 31 last year, will leave his post Aug. 1 and Brussels will “swiftly appoint” a new ambassador to Turkey, said Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
Some of Mr. Haber’s colleagues, who don’t appear to be fans, are pointing fingers in his direction:
Two EU officials in Brussels said there was dissatisfaction with Mr. Haber’s performance, which grew sharper after he drew Ankara’s ire with provocative comments about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the migration deal. One EU official said the decision was taken in Brussels in recent weeks to replace Mr. Haber.
“He became persona non grata very soon,” said one EU official in Brussels. “He has never gotten a real entry into the Turkish administration.”[..]
Last month, the EU’s envoy to Ankara angered Turkey with remarks to journalists, prompting the Foreign Ministry to summon Mr. Haber. […H]e characterized the migration deal negotiations in a manner Turkey found offensive.
“We have a proverb, ‘start off like a Turk and finish like a German.’ But the reverse has happened here. It started off like a German and is finishing like a Turk,” Mr. Haber told a gathering of diplomacy reporters in Ankara.
On the other hand, Mr. Haber also got in trouble for saying things that are self-evident, such as that Turkey’s definition of terrorism was overly-broad and prone to abuse.
There are probably few more stressful jobs than trying to manage the Turkey-EU relationship right now. As we’ve been chronicling, the deal between the two, always shaky, has been breaking down in the last few weeks, and it would appear Mr. Haber’s departure is at its heart a symptom of that more than a cause.