No European security without Türkiye: Deputy FM

No European security without Türkiye: Deputy FM

No European security without Türkiye: Deputy FM

The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has once again shown the importance of the cooperation between Türkiye and the European Union, a senior Turkish diplomat has said, citing security, energy, economy and migration management as four main areas on which Ankara and Brussels are intensely working together.

“The war staged by Russia against Ukraine has highlighted the importance of Türkiye-EU relations in four main areas,” Deputy Foreign Minister Ambassador Faruk Kaymakçı told Ankara bureau chiefs of the media outlets on Dec. 22. He cited these four areas as security, energy, economic recovery and migration management.

On security, Kaymakçı underlined “It has once again been exposed that there will be no European security without Türkiye; no EU security without Türkiye.” If Türkiye were be a member of the EU or would have been admitted into the EU’s common security and defense mechanisms that would bring about further coordination between NATO and the EU, the senior diplomat said, “That would even prevent the war between Russia and Ukraine. Why do I say this? Because the only way for the West to be an efficient deterring power is the togetherness of NATO and the EU. And Türkiye would be the country most contributing to this unity between the two organizations.”

He also informed that Greece and Greek Cyprus are preventing Türkiye’s participation into EU’s relevant security and defense policies.

Türkiye key country for EU’s energy security

The second area in cooperation between Türkiye and the EU is energy, and one of the four main natural gas pipelines that supply gas to Europe is passing through the former’s territories, dubbed the South Gas Corridor, the diplomat recalled.

“This corridor has the capacity of transporting 16 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Türkiye is taking six billion cubic meters of gas from this pipeline and sending 10 billion to Europe. As the energy prices soared due to the energy crisis, we have observed that the EU has shown more interest in the South Gas Corridor,” Kaymakçı said.

Brussels is paying more attention to the hydrocarbon resources in Central Asia and Caucasus, and Türkiye is planning to increase the capacity of the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TAP) to 32 billion cubic meters by supplying the additional 16 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Central Asia, he said.

In addition to that, Kaymakçı stated that Ankara is also thinking that the hydrocarbon resources of the eastern Anatolian region can be brought to the European markets through the South Gas Corridor if Brussels can overcome the objection of Greece and Greek Cyprus.

“In short, it is of nobody’s benefit that the Greek Cypriot administration and Greece prevent energy cooperation between Türkiye and the EU because of the Eastern Mediterranean tension. Supporting the South Gas Corridor with the hydrocarbon resources of the eastern Mediterranean and increasing its capacity is the best economic way,” the deputy minister underlined.

Updating customs union is essential

Türkiye and the EU, as important economic and trade partners, also cooperate to recover their respective economies from the negative consequences of climate change, pandemic and the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war, he said.

“Türkiye is the EU’s fifth or sixth trade partner. And Türkiye is the biggest, most stable and effective partner for the EU. It has become clear once again that boosting economic ties between Türkiye and the EU and the rest of Europe is a growing need. This has been more loudly voiced by the European private sector,” the diplomat stated.

In this context, Kaymakçı highlighted the need for upgrading the customs union and expressed his hope that the political obstacles before the resumption of negotiations will soon be lifted.

Migration management

Türkiye and the EU continue to discuss ways to cooperate in the field of migration management in line with the bilateral memorandum of understanding that was signed in 2016, he stated.

Türkiye is hosting 4.2 million migrants with 3.7 million of them from Syria while the European Union has opened its doors to around 8 million Ukrainians following the war, Kaymakçı said, “And this creates a new burden on Europe and expands the migration crisis. In this area, the EU has started to discuss what we can do on the migration aspect of the 2016 deal.”

“These four items have pointed out the importance and indispensableness of Türkiye for the EU. This, in fact, has given a new chance for the revitalization of our ties,” the diplomat stressed, adding that a new chapter on Ankara-Brussels ties can be opened if Türkiye can expedite its reform process in the coming period.

faruk kaymakcı, Turkey,