Main opposition leader slams EU sanctions decision over drilling activities
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on July 16 slammed the European Council’s decision to impose sanctions on Ankara over its drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean.
“We have rights in the eastern Mediterranean and we will defend these rights until the end. The European Union will supposedly impose sanctions. We do not accept this,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in his speech at the CHP’s parliamentary group meeting in the capital Ankara.
The European Council published a final declaration on July 15 following a meeting of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council attended by the foreign ministers of member states.
The council said in the statement that in light of Turkey’s “continued and new illegal drilling activities,” it would suspend civil aviation negotiations and “agree not to hold the Association Council and further meetings of the EU-Turkey high-level dialogues for the time being.”
Kılıçdaroğlu also questioned why Greek Cyprus is recognized as a member country by the EU. “What is your justification for this?” he said.
“[Turkey] will not value the EU unless it abandons this double-standard,” the CHP leader said.
“I have said this to EU officials with whom I met. But they continue to apply this double-standard,” he added.
He also criticized the EU’s “insincerity” towards Turkey.
A fundamental issue of Turkey is in its foreign policy, according to Kılıçdaroğlu. The foreign policy objectives must coincide with the nation’s interests, he stressed.
“A peace and cooperation organization in the Middle East must be established,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“Turkey will have to bear heavy consequences if it follows an ‘adventurous’ foreign policy,” he added.
For peace in the region, relationships with Egypt must be ameliorated, according to Kılıçdaoğlu.
“Turkey’s interests are above anything else. Peace with Egypt must be made. We should not be in quarrel with any nation. Why don’t we have an ambassador [in Egypt]?” he said.
The CHP head also urged the government to “stop sending arms to Libya.”
“Why do you fuel enmity, when you can be a mediator to end war?” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu also stressed on the significance of Syria’s territorial integrity for Turkey and said “direct contact must be established” with the neighboring country.