Tag Archives: Ankara

#Sofagate: Junker clarifies

Brussels 08.04.2021 European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was left without a seat, and had to sit on a nearby sofa, as the bloc’s leaders met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Only two chairs were set up for the meeting, which involved Ursula von der Leyen, President Erdogan, and EU Council President Charles Michel.

When consulted by Politico Magazine the former EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that when he travelled with the European Council presidents during his term at the helm of the Commission, it was “clear for everyone that, from a protocol point of view, the president of the Council is No. 1, and the president of the Commission is No. 2.”

“When I was traveling with Tusk or Van Rompuy, I always respected that protocol order,” Juncker told POLITICO in a phone interview, referring to the two former Council presidents. “Normally I had a chair next to the chair of the president of the Council, but sometimes it happened that I was sitting on a sofa.”

Nevertheless, the former Commission chief suggested that von der Leyen could have been treated differently.

“I think it would have been better to have her sitting at the same level” as Michel, “but from a protocol point of view the president of the Council is No. 1.”

Asked if he believes the episode in Ankara merits a controversy, the former president was dismissive.

Some critics of President Erdogan have underlined that he is not arranging the protocol himself, and officially the President of the European Commission is the fourth in the line after the President of the European Parliament, the President of the Council (Charles Michel), the President of the rotating presidency, now Portugal, and finally the boss of all the civil servants – Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commmission.

France recalls envoy from Ankara

Brussels, 24.10.2020 Paris said it was recalling its envoy to Ankara H.E.Hervé MAGRO for consultations after comments by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggesting French counterpart Emmanuel Macron needed a “mental health” treatment that quai d’Orsay condemned as unacceptable.

“What can one say about a head of state who treats millions of members from different faith groups this way: first of all, have mental checks,” Erdogan said in a televised address in the central Anatolian city of Kayseri.

“Macron’s statement that ‘Islam is in a crisis’ is an open provocation beyond disrespect,” Erdogan underlined.

President Macron described Islam as a religion “in crisis” worldwide and said the government would present a new law in December to strengthen one existing since 1905 that officially separated church and state in France. Macron also announced stricter oversight of schooling and better control over foreign funding of mosques.

Borrell on travel restrictions for Turkey

“Turkey is not only a close neighbour for the European Union, especially for some Member States – it is clear it is a closer neighbour to Greece than to Portugal for example, or Ireland – but it is a key partner, it is a candidate country for accession, and the fact that we in Europe discuss extensively and frequently about Turkey just reflects the importance that we attach to this relationship” said the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell, at the press conference following his meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Çavuşoğlu in Ankara, Turkey.

“The advantage of our talks, dear Minister [[of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu], is that we can talk openly, frankly, in a constructive approach. Because currently the situation is far from being ideal. There are many serious issues that require our immediate attention. I want to change for the best the dynamics in our relationship because I believe that we have a mutual interest to get out of this situation and chart a new and positive trajectory, avoiding any kind of incident that could spark more troubles.

“First, the Eastern Mediterranean is a key region for Europe. It is time to tackle this, in order to create a way forward, conductive to confidence building, dialogue, good neighbourhood relations, stability and security. And this cannot be done by unilateral actions but requires cooperation and dialogue.

“The COVID-19 requires cooperation, unhappily it has not been the case worldwide, there is more confrontation than cooperation, but among us we should try to look for more cooperation than confrontation. I will have also the opportunity to discuss with the Minister of Defence [of Turkey, Hulusi Akar]. We are going to talk about the deterioration of the situation in the Aegean Sea, in the Eastern Mediterranean and what it means for EU-Turkey relations…

“…Let me just say that I understand the preoccupations of Turkey about the travel restrictions. I just want to say that Turkey has not been included in this list because we are adopting a progressive lifting of the travel restrictions on non-essential inbound travel. Only 15 countries have been selected to be part of this list, the approach that the Commission’s services in charge of these issues has followed is based on objective criteria related primarily to the health situation. These criteria are objective, applying them is not a mechanical exercise, it involves some qualitative judgement that is not set in stone. It will be revisited at least every two weeks, taking into account the evolving health situation.

“Moreover, not being on the list does not mean a complete travel ban. Citizens and people with an essential reason to come to Europe should be allowed to travel. As I said at least every two weeks we are going to reassess the situation according with the data provided by the health authorities of the states with which we would like to open our borders as soon as possible”.

EU Defence Ministers discuss future

At arrival to the Informal meeting of the EU Defence Ministers on March 4 in Zagreb Josep Borrell, the EU top diplomat, commented on situation in Syria, and crisis at Greek-Turkish border.

Borrell underlined that the meeting is “not about the current crisis“, but about “future prospects on how to build a better security and defence policy for all Europeans“. The Ministers hosted the Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg to put forward priorities in EU military and defence missions.

Our prospect tonight is about how to build a common security and defence policy for the future.”

The EU top diplomat described the situation in Syria is one of the “most dramatic” in terms of human rights since the World War II.

“We are providing as much humanitarian help as we can, the European Union has increased by €170 million the amount of resources we can provide to the United Nations. But at this time the problem is not financial but logistic, that is – how to reach the people, how to get through the border, because the Syrian side is closed, the Turkish side is still opened in some places in order to bring food, medicine and shelter. But, it is difficult to provide those things in the middle of a military conflict” Borrell said.

https://twitter.com/eu_eeas/status/1235281289860837387?s=21

“We have to call once again for a stop of the military activities in order to give some protection to these people. As far as I know, from the information I got from Ankara – I am coming from Ankara – this is one of worse cases of human distress that we have been living in the last 70 years” he added.

Borrell referred to the diplomatic efforts, reflected in his recent talks with Turkish officials during the trip to Ankara.

“They believe that the support we are providing is not enough. For sure it is not enough, because when we made the agreement in 2016, the situation in Idlib was not the way it is now. But we continue providing support as much as we can and I have been telling them that to push people, to put pressure at the [EU-Turkey] border is not a solution for anyone. It is going to put people at risk and we would like to continue cooperating but not through movement of people, by making them believe that there is an opportunity to pass to Europe, because this opportunity does not exist” Borrell concluded.

Cyprus: EU “gravely concerned”over Turkey drilling

“Turkey’s declared intention to illegally conduct a new drilling operation northeast of Cyprus is of grave concern. This second planned drilling operation, two months after the start of the ongoing drilling operations west of Cyprus, is a further unacceptable escalation which violates the sovereignty of Cyprus” says the text of the statement by EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini on Turkey’s new drilling operation northeast of Cyprus.

“We call on the Turkish authorities, once again, to refrain from such actions, act in a spirit of good neighbourliness and respect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus in accordance with international law.”

“Recalling the conclusions of the European Council on 20 June 2019, Turkey’s continued actions have a serious negative impact across the range of EU-Turkey relations. As mandated by the European Council, the Commission and the EEAS are about to present options to the Council for appropriate measures. The European Union will respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus.”

Cyprus condemned Turkey‘s second attempt to drill for oil and gas in waters off the island, after the EU warned Ankara to stop its “illegal” activities or face sanctions.

The Cypriot government condemns in the strongest terms the new illegal Turkish drilling in the east of Cyprus” the authorities said.

Ankara “strongly condemns” Utrecht attack

Turkish intelligence service is investigating the motive of the suspect in #Utrecht shooting. President Erdogan has announced, according to reports of Reuters news agency from Ankara. The intelligence services investigate whether there is a terrorist motive and trace or whether the suspect had a different impulse. In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said it “strongly condemns” the attack.

The intelligence services have launched an investigation into possible ties of the assailant with the terrorist groups, namely if he had contacts in Chechnya, or in Islamic State (ISIS).

Iran Embassy in Ankara evacuated

The Iranian Embassy in Ankara (pictured) has been evacuated after Turkish security forces received an information about a possible suicide bombing plot, Turkish daily Sözcü reported.

After receiving the warning, Turkish police evacuated the Iranian Ambassador and cordoned off Tahran Street where the Embassy is located.

MEPs vote cutting Turkey accession funds

This week the European Parliament decided to cancel €70 million in pre-accession funds earmarked for Turkey, as conditions to improve the rule of law were not met.

Last November, during the budgetary negotiations, Parliament and Council intended to place in reserve €70 million in pre-accession funds for Turkey (€70m in commitments and €35m in payments), under the condition that “Turkey makes measurable, sufficient improvements in the fields of rule of law, democracy, human rights and press freedom, according to the annual report of the Commission.”

However, the European Commission annual report on Turkey published on 17 April 2018, concluded that “Turkey has been significantly moving away from the European Union, in particular in the areas of the rule of law and fundamental rights and through the weakening of effective checks and balances in the political system”.

The condition set by the budgetary authority has therefore not been met, MEPs underline.

They accordingly support the draft amending budget 5/2018, in which the Commission proposes transferring the €70 million earmarked for Turkey to reinforce the European Neighbourhood Instrument. This would be done through commitments– to cover actions linked to the Central Mediterranean migratory route and to fulfil part of the EU pledge for Syria – and to boost Humanitarian Aid by €35 million.

The report by Siegfried Muresan (EPP, RO) has been adopted with 544 votes, 28 against and 74 abstentions.

Turkey accused Gulen in Kremlin envoy assassination

A Turkish court has issued an arrest warrant for eight members of the Gulenist Terror Organization (FETO), including its leader Fethullah Gulen, for being involved in the assassination of Russian Ambassador to Ankara Andrei Karlov, the Haberturk TV channel reports.

It was Gulen who ordered the assassination of Russian Ambassador, according to the Haberturk TV.

Andrei Karlov, the envoy to Ankara, was shot in his back on December 19, 2016, while delivering a speech at cultural event. The attacker, an off-duty police officer named Mevlut Mert Altintas, was immediately destroyed by security forces.

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) declared the ambassador’s assassination a terrorist attack, and the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case on Karlov assassination an act of international terrorism, TASS news agency reports.

 

CASTALDO: Turkey’ Afrin offensive is disgrace to EU

Fabio CASTALDO, the vice-president of the European Parliament expresses his concerns with the Turkey’s offensive in Afrin, and calls the EU diplomacy to react with determination to stop bombings, and convince Turkey to return to the legality and responsibility of its actions. CASTALDO finds the status of the candidate country, granted to Turkey, as particularly disgraceful for the EU, ignoring reality of visible moving away of Ankara from democratic standards.

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