Erdoğan urges EU official for progress in Ankara-Brussels ties
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged European Council President Charles Michel to revitalize Turkish-EU relations during a phone conversation on Oct.12 and expressed Turkey’s expectation to convene the eastern Mediterranean conference, a statement by Turkey’s Communications Directorate said.
During the conversation, Erdoğan stated that Turkey-EU relations should be revived, the EU should fulfill its obligations under the March 18 agreement, and progress should be made on the Customs Union and visa liberalization.
“Indicating that Greece continued with its steps, which escalated tension in the eastern Mediterranean despite Turkey’s well-intentioned approach, Erdoğan expressed that they were expecting concrete steps from the EU to hold the eastern Mediterranean conference proposed by Turkey,” said the statement.
Noting that Armenia, which occupied Azerbaijani territories, has endangered Europe’s energy supply security by attacking the city of Ganja after the Tovuz region, which is located on the natural gas and oil pipelines and transportation lines, Erdoğan has called for the EU to assume a consistent stance regarding the “territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.”
Turkey has dispatched the Oruç Reis research vessel back to the eastern Mediterranean after a new NAVTEX for a 10-day mandate amid expectations for the resumption of Turkey-Greek exploratory talks aiming at defusing months-long tension.
Turkey and Greece are in a long standoff over the overlapping continental shelf claims as the former denies the Greek claims that the Meis Island generates a 40,000-kilometer square continental shelf. Turkey says the 10-square-kilometer island, which is 580 kilometers away from the Greek mainland and only 2 kilometers from the Turkish coasts, has only territorial waters and no continental shelf.
A recent EU Council meeting has proposed to launch a positive agenda with Turkey in case if it would engage for a diplomatic resolution of the problem. It implied to have sanctions against Turkey if it prolongs the conflict.
But Ankara was not happy with the outcomes of the summit, as it was expecting progress in Turkey’s relations with Brussels.
EU summit decisions were not sufficient to overcome problems in relations between Turkey and the block, Erdoğan told German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Oct. 6.
Erdoğan told Merkel that “the EU had succumbed to pressure and blackmail from Greek Cypriots and Greece despite Turkey’s good faith.”
Meanwhile, a senior Foreign Ministry official stressed that Athens cannot be a part of a solution in the region as long as it backs “illegitimate acts.”
Greece is “behind all injustice, illegal and illegitimate acts in our region as it supports, Armenian occupation in Azerbaijan, putschist warlord in Libya, red-handed regime in Syria and Seville map in the east Med [the symbol of Greek/Greek Cypriot maximalist maritime boundary claims],” Çağatay Erciyes, director-general of the Foreign Ministry’s Bilateral Political and Maritime-Aviation-Border Affairs, tweeted on Oct. 12.
“Greece cannot be part of any solution as it is a member of the coalition that created all these problems. As long as Greece continues to act with the understanding that “my enemy’s enemy is my friend,” it will always fail and jeopardize peace and stability in our region,” he added.
Çavuşoğlu: EU in difficulty on ties with Turkey
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu slammed the EU for imposing double-standards on the rights of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots at a press conference with visiting Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde.
“Why don’t you mention ever about the rights of the Turkish Cypriots? Don’t they have rights on the hydrocarbon richness of the island? Can you make an emphasis on this in your [EU] conclusions?” Çavuşoğlu asked.
He also criticized the EU for taking sides in the dispute over the eastern Mediterranean and not criticizing Greece when its security forces prevent the refugee boats in violation of humanitarian and international laws.
“You are always talking about international law, but you impose double standards in the name of solidarity. Solidarity is a good concept, but it should not be shown to those who are violating the laws,” he stated.