EU praises Turkey’s role in Ukraine, proposes cooperation

EU praises Turkey’s role in Ukraine, proposes cooperation

Serkan Demirtaş - ANKARA
EU praises Turkey’s role in Ukraine, proposes cooperation

The European Union’s ambassador to Ankara has expressed Brussels’ appreciation of Turkey’s engagement and active diplomacy against the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and proposal of enhancing bilateral cooperation in tackling this common challenge.

“EU, member states, NATO and Turkey, as a NATO ally, are collectively challenged by this aggression. We have to respond together,” Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut said in an interview over the weekend.

“We, all, the EU, NATO allies and Turkey, after this brutal and completely unjustified and unacceptable attack from Russia to Ukraine find ourselves in a completely new world,” he said, likening the Russian aggression to the 9/11 terror attacks against the United States in 2001. “We have to live up to that,” he stated.

On Turkey’s policies, the ambassador said: “We appreciate Turkish involvement, engagement and anticipation with NATO. We appreciate very much that it voted with the vast majority of states in the U.N. We know Turkey is cooperating with Ukraine and supporting Ukraine.”

The recent developments have shown that cooperation between the European countries, EU and NATO members should be augmented, the envoy said, adding: “We have to see how we can improve our cooperation, and how we can do even more together, how we can deal together with energy issues, security issues and with humanitarian aspects of this crisis. I think this is a moment for the EU, its member states, NATO allies and Europe and Turkey to stand together.”

Turkey, EU intensify dialogue

On a question on which areas Turkey and the EU can cooperate in the context of the war in Ukraine, Meyer-Landrut recalled, “We are all now in the first days of this shocking new reality” and informed that all these issues will be discussed in high-level talks that will take place within days.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign and security policies, will be in Antalya next weekend to attend a diplomatic forum and meet Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, only days before the launch of Turkey-EU political consultations in Ankara, the diplomat said.

“We have now for the next 10 days important meetings between the EU and Turkey, in which of course the war in Ukraine will be the key issue. And I would expect that this is also the moment to establish comprehensive and practical cooperation as possible to deal with this new reality,” he stated.

‘Let’s stand together’

Stating that there is a lot of room for cooperation over some practical issues that the entire Europe is facing, the ambassador said: “Let’s stand together now and face this aggression. This will be a common challenge we need to master. We will all be affected by this, particularly Turkey. Because Turkey is much closer to the region, to Ukraine and to Russia. We will all be affected by this. We need to cooperate and support, show solidarity with Ukraine and also see how we can cooperate among ourselves to reduce as much as possible the effects of this situation on our countries.”

Turkey holds key to straits

On a question about Turkey’s decision to implement the 1936-dated Montreux Convention in a bid to stop the passage of Russian and other countries’ warships to the Black Sea from the Turkish straits, Meyer-Landrut recalled, “Turkey is the holder of the keys to the straits. This is a very important point.”

Saying he would never have thought before starting his tenure as the EU ambassador that the issue of straits would come as a question, he noted, “I am saying this seriously. That is a demonstration. We must appreciate Turkey playing its role in this convention with all its seriousness.”