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Roving Periscope: Turkey loves to hate EU!

Roving Periscope: Turkey loves to hate EU!


Virendra Pandit 

New Delhi: No country appears as split against itself as Turkey.

Its overambitious President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has just accused the European Union (EU) of “never acting honestly” towards Ankara which, he claimed, is not concerned by any economic sanctions the Union might impose on it.

But his own Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has reiterated that Ankara wants to join the EU as a full member and that the Union’s statements accusing Ankara of stoking tensions were wrong. He has also urged the EU to show “common sense.”

Erdogan shrugs off the possibility of the EU’s sanctions against Turkey; Cavusoglu wants to improve ties with the Union.

In the fast-changing geopolitical scenario, Turkey has been running with the hare and hunting with the hound in a bid to extract maximum advantage against all and sundry.

Since he came to power in 2014, Erdogan has overturned a secular nation into an Islamist adventurist country. Turkey is trying to resurrect the ghost of the Ottoman Empire after a century, thus alarming the Arabs, North Africans, and the eastern Europeans whose countries were part of this Empire until the 1920s.

Turkey’s aggressive policies have forced the Muslim world also to realign into Arab and non-Arab blocs.

It was in this backdrop that the EU foreign ministers said this week that Ankara had failed to help end a row with Greece and Cyprus over potential gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean, which Ankara views as a zone of its maritime interests from the previous century.

Turkey, still a NATO ally, which is trying to enter the EU for decades, has been at odds with the two EU members, Greece and Cyprus, over the extent of their continental shelves in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

“The EU has never acted honestly, it has never kept its promises (towards Turkey). But… we have always been patient. We are still being patient,” Erdogan said.

“Any sanctions decision that can be taken against Turkey do not concern us much,” he said, adding that Greece had “run away” from negotiations with Turkey on their maritime claims.

Charles Michel, President of the European Council, has warned Turkey not to play “cat and mouse” by withdrawing ships before EU summits, only to redeploy them afterward.

France, with support from the European Parliament, is leading the EU charge for sanctions against Turkey, particularly after Erdogan’s openly anti-French views and calls to boycott French goods and services in the wake of terrorist activities in October.

But Turkey continues to blow hot and cold.

Cavusoglu said: “We can only solve our problems with dialogue and diplomacy. We want to improve our ties with the EU. We are not saying this because there is a summit or because there are sanctions and other things on the agenda,” he added. “We always wanted to improve our ties on the basis of full membership.”

Earlier, a spokesman for Erdogan’s AK Party said that using the “language of sanctions” against Turkey will amount to “racists and fascists” winning in Europe.

“Using (such) language…is an eclipse of the mind,” Omer Celik told reporters. “The EU must act with reason,” media reported.