In recent years, Western countries and, above all, the United States, have persistently attempted to make Turkey their proverbial “whipping boy.” Ankara, for its part, is aware of the situation, and the times when it’s politicians preferred to bow their heads and accept the outside influence are now firmly in the past: Turkey is resolutely opposed to the attempts of the West to put pressure on it, as a number of recent incidents indicate.
On topical issues such as the situation in Syria, Northern Iraq, the Eastern Mediterranean and the purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, Turkey has refused to make any concessions. This situation is very annoying to the US and its allies in the west, which is why they are now resorting to economic coercion.
The population is already tired of threats and attempts at pressure from the West: Anti-American, anti-European and anti-NATO sentiments are steadily becoming stronger in Turkish society. Increasingly, one can hear comments from Turkish citizens such as: “I’m sick of it all! Let them impose their sanctions! ”Just look at some recent events:
US President Donald Trump said that the tension with Turkey over the S-400 purchase is very confusing, and stressed that negotiations with Ankara on the issue are continuing.
Accusing the Obama administration of laying the basis for the disagreement, Trump said: “The Obama administration would not sell them the Patriot missiles. They needed the Patriot missiles for defense. They would not sell them under any circumstance. And Turkey tried very hard to buy them and they wouldn’t sell them, and this went on for a long period of time”
He (President Erdoğan) wanted to buy our Patriot missile. We wouldn’t sell it… And then when he made a deal with another country, Russia, to buy their system that he didn’t even want, and then all of a sudden, we say oh, okay, we’ll now sell you the patriot,” he added.
In other words, the American president hinted that the question remains open.
The EU’s “EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN” SANCTIONS
While the Turkish drilling vessel Fatih engages in geological exploration on the continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean, the research vessel Barbaros Hayreddin Paşa and the drilling vessel Yavuz continue to operate in areas the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has licensed to the oil company for investigation.
Following a meeting of the Council on Foreign Policy Issues in Brussels, which was attended by the foreign ministers of several EU member states, a final statement was made, concluding that Turkey’s exploration of hydrocarbon deposits in the Eastern Mediterranean is illegal, and that the EU would adopt a number of countermeasures.
According to the news agency Anadolu, the final statement noted that the EU had decided to discontinue the funding provided by Brussels to Turkey as a country negotiating potential membership, as well as revising the credit activity of the European Investment Bank in Turkey, suspending
negotiations between Turkey and the EU on the agreement in the field of aviation and high-level dialogue with Turkey, as well as the cancellation of a meeting of the Association Council.
The statement also notes that if Turkey continues exploration of hydrocarbon deposits, the EU will have to develop tougher sanctions measures against Ankara.
The EU-approved sanctions package provides for withholding a certain amount of total funding in the amount of 4.45 billion euros, which Brussels has pledged to provide Turkey from 2014 to 2020 as part of the Financial Assistance Program for countries negotiating EU membership.
As for the structure of the EU financing investment projects, in 2018, the total amount of loans granted to Turkey was 386 million euros.
In the framework of the negotiations on the agreement in the field of aviation between Turkey and the EU, there has also been next to no progress due to Brussels attempts to include the leadership of the Greek community of Cyprus, which Turkey does not recognize.
MFA: IT’S NOT NECESSARY TO TAKE EU SANCTIONS SERIOUSLY
One of the best responses to the EU’s decision to impose sanctions came from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.
He stressed that the EU sanctions against Turkey “should not be taken seriously,” saying “The EU needs us. They themselves know that they will not be able to implement the sanctions they have decided to impose. They are forced to make dubious decisions to satisfy the Greek community. The problem is in the absence of guarantees of the rights of the Turkish Cypriots regarding the island and the nearby territory. If you make such decisions against Turkey, we will increase the scale of our activities. Currently there are 3 of our vessels in the Eastern Mediterranean, and we will also send the fourth one there.”