Turkey needs to soften its tone to avoid isolation: European envoy

Turkey needs to soften its tone to avoid isolation: European envoy


Turkey is internationally isolated and needs to tone down its rhetoric if it wants to win important concessions from the European Union, a senior European official said in Istanbul on Wednesday.

The European Parliament's rapporteur on Turkey, Nacho Sánchez Amor, said that the Turkish government's unpleasant statements on foreign affairs were one of the main obstacles to improving relations with Brussels.

Turkey is seeking to update its 1995 customs agreement with the European Union, which could simplify access to European visas for its citizens and boost exports.

Last week, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell recommended that Turkey offer both countries concessions in exchange for a series of concessions.

These include Turkey's crackdown on Russia's efforts to evade sanctions and developments in the issue of splitting the island of Cyprus.

Sánchez Amor added another condition on the final day of a fact-finding mission to Turkey that included meetings with rebel groups.

“It is free and easy to refrain from using an aggressive or threatening tone,” he told reporters in Istanbul.

“You are completely isolated. Your only real friend is Azerbaijan,” Sánchez Amor said.

Turkey has been a candidate for full membership in the European Union since 1999.

However, the process has been effectively frozen since 2018 due to European concerns about Turkey's human rights record and adventurous foreign policy.

– 'No-good'
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to make an unusual visit to Greece on Thursday, aimed at warming ties between the two historically hostile countries.

But he repeatedly criticized the West during his re-election campaign in May and used the high-profile visit to Germany last month to accuse Berlin of supporting Israel in its war with Hamas. .

Erdogan doubled down on those attacks in comments to reporters on a flight home from petrodollar-rich Qatar, one of Turkey's closest and most important allies in the Middle East.

“If it were not for the support of all Western countries, especially the United States, to Israel, we would not be facing this situation in the region now,” Erdoğan said.

“The unlimited support of these countries in cash, arms, ammunition and equipment has turned Israel into a spoiled child of the West.”

Sánchez Amor said he understands that such rhetoric works well with the Turkish public.

“I know that many of Turkey's foreign policy decisions have a domestic approach,” he said.

“There are different paths and requirements for being a good, cooperative neighbor and being a member,” he says.

Source: guardian.ng

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