Tag Archives: Turkey

Armenian diplomat accuses Turkey

Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan said Yerevan is totally committed to “strictly peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict”.
The Minister reminded in an interview to French news Channel, that there is an internationally agreed, internationally mandated format – the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship which comprises France, the United States, and the Russian Federation.

“We are totally committed to this process, to resolve the conflict strictly through peaceful means, and a solution, resolution which is based strictly on a compromise, a solution which is acceptable, in the words of the Prime Minister of Armenia, to the people of Armenia, people of Nagorno-Karabakh, people of Azerbaijan. What we have unfortunately been dealing with is the absolutely maximalist position of Azerbaijan which denies any recognition of the interest and concerns of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and its authorities and the people of Armenia. The maximalist position has been rejected and remains rejected. We are prepared for compromise. However, this massive escalation is bringing in a new situation we have to deal with”.

The Minister added later to another TV channel – Al-Arabya – that “Turkey has positioned itself in very aggressive way against Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh. We have been receiving disturbing reports about recruitment of terrorists from areas, which are controlled by Turkey in Syria.”

Taking into consideration the destructive role of President Erdogan in Nagorno-Karabach conflict, Dutch Member of Parliament Geert Wilders, who is the Chairman of the Party for Freedom, has launched a call to end Turkey membership in NATO.

Michel postpones #EUCO Summit

On 1 and 2 October, the EU leaders will meet in Brussels to discuss the Single market, industrial policy and digital transformation, as well as external relations, in particular relations with Turkey and with China. The Summit, initially planned for 24 and 25 September, has been postponed as President Michel is in quarantine.

In July, the European Council agreed an unprecedented recovery package to counter the effects of COVID-19 on the economies and societies of the EU member states. The two pillars of such a recovery, the green transition and the digital transformation, coupled with a strong single market, will foster new forms of growth and strengthen the EU’s resilience.

“This agreement was a major step to our vital objective: European strategic autonomy. (…) The strategic independence of Europe is our new common project for this century. It’s in all our common interest” said Charles Michel, President of the European Council.
The European Council will look at ways of deepening and strengthening the single market, developing a more ambitious industrial policy, and pressing ahead with the digital transformation. EU leaders will focus on:
going back to a fully functioning single market as soon as possible; making the EU’s industries more competitive globally and increasing their autonomy; accelerating the digital transition.

The European Council will hold a strategic discussion on Turkey. During the EU leaders’ video conference of 19 August 2020, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the relations with Turkey were raised by some member states. The leaders expressed their concern about the growing tensions and stressed the urgent need to de-escalate. The members of the European Council expressed their full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus and recalled and reaffirmed previous conclusions on the illegal drilling activities.

“We agreed to come back to these issues during our meeting in September. All options will be on the table”, president Michel said.
Following the EU-China summit on 22 June 2020 and the meeting with President Xi on 14 September 2020, both by video conference, the European Council will discuss EU-China relations.
In the light of events, the European Council may address other specific foreign policy issues.

MAVRIDES: CYPRUS-SANCTIONS-DISTORTIONS

Costas MAVRIDES, MEP, OPINION Cyprus position on sanctions vs distortions
Erdogan is breaking fundamental EU and International Law in his expansionist policies to restore the Ottoman empire and turn himself into the Sultan of modern times. Domestically, he crashed the media and imprisoned thousands of journalists, academics, judges and political opponents. He is obsessed with Islamism, recently converted two of the finest Byzantine Christian cathedrals into mosques against UNESCO rules and promoting political Islam in Europe. He has breached NATO obligations by buying Russian missiles. He turned the migration flow into a tool for blackmailing the EU and interferes in the politics of European countries including France and Germany, insisting that Turkish EU citizens owe loyalty only to Turkey. He invaded into Iraq and Syria where still occupies the Afrin area. He has an open war on the Kurds within and around Turkey. He intervened in Libya and continues his aggression with the supply of arms against the UN Security Council Resolutions. He has illegally militarize the sea in the Aegean, acting against the sovereign rights of Greece. He has invaded in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus extending Turkish illegal occupation of the northern part of the Republic of Cyprus into its waters zones.

The invasion in the Cyprus water zones is taking place for some years now for which Cyprus is pleading for EU solidarity. Last week, the European Parliament has spoken once again, condemning the aggression of Turkey in the Mediterranean and calling the European Council to consider targeted and sectoral sanctions against Turkey. These blatant violations of rule of law within Turkey and against EU and International Law -against the sovereign rights of two member states of EU-, take place while Turkey is an EU accession country.
The last few weeks we have seen the authoritarian regime of Belarus actions against its citizens. During the Council in Berlin an agreement was reached that EU sanctions are going to be imposed on Belarus and Turkey. Now, some member states don’t want sanctions on Turkey, while Cyprus insists on the implementation of the agreement reached asking for sanctions on both Turkey and Belarus. The EU High Representative Josep Borrell stated in the EP that sanctions will be imposed on Turkey over its actions in the Cypriot EEZ and called the EU member states to implement the Berlin agreement. The above are the facts without any distortions. Anyone can decide who is the defender of European values, EU Law and Europe long term interests.
Costas Mavrides, Member of European Parliament
Chair of the Political Committee of the Mediterranean
Member of Cyprus Democratic Party

EU-Turkey Mediterranean de-escalation

The recent withdrawal of the research vessel Oruç Reis is an important step paving the way for a meaningful dialogue between Greece and Turkey. The EU also calls for a similar decisions as concerns Cyprus. Turkey’s announcement on Tuesday of the extension of the Navtex for the Yavuz drilling vessel will fuel further tensions and insecurity in the Eastern Mediterranean at a moment when there is an opportunity to pursue immediate de-escalation, and resume dialogue and negotiations, which is the only path towards lasting solutions” reads the European External Action service Spokesperson Statement on the exploration activities in Eastern Mediterranean.

Meanwhile Turkey’s Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said seismic vessel Oruc Reis was pulled back for its periodical maintenance, howeveer Greece can turn this into an opportunity for talks in eastern Mediterranean row.

Neighbours in Mediterranean, both NATO allies, Turkey and Greece have overlapping claims to continental shelves and rights to extract potential energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean. Tensions flared last month after Ankara sent Oruc Reis to map out possible oil and gas drilling prospects in waters claimed by Greece, Cyprus and Turkey.

Turkey’s navy had issued an advisory earlier this month saying the vessel would continue operations in the area until September 12. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had confirmed that it would continue exploratory operations for longer but no extension to the advisory was issued as of noon.

Michel calls for conference on East Mediterranean

The EU continues relentless efforts to de-escalate tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean between Turkey and Greece over gas and oil exploration. On Sunday, September 7, in the afternoon, the President of the European Council Charles Michel had a telephone conversation with the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the mounting tensions in the region.

According to an EU official, Michel stressed the importance of de-escalation the conflict, and called on Turkey to refrain from activities that fuel the tensions. He pointed out that the EU is in full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus, adding that the EU wishes to have a constructive relationship with Turkey.

Further, EU Council President called September European Council meeting, which will discuss the situation in the Mediterranean and the whole scope of EU’s relations with Turkey. In that respect all measures, called “sticks and carrots” will be considered.

Michel has also called for multilateral conference on the Eastern Mediterranean in a view to find peaceful and negotiated solutions, with a clear goal to listen and call for “dialogue as the only way to resolve current disputes”. Michel will remain in contact with all parties.
Turkey and Greece, both NATO members, have been embroiled in an increasingly belligerent dispute over gas and oil in the region since Turkey deployed an exploration vessel last month.

They will understand that Turkey has the political, economic and military strength to tear up immoral maps and documents,” Erdogan said in a televised speech, referring to contested areas claimed by Greece and Cyprus as their exclusive economic zones.

The EU strategy to establish dialogue between opponent so far remains unchanged, and is perceived with tenacity from the beginning of the argument between Greece, Cyprus, and the EU candidate country – Turkey.

EU considers sanctions against Turkey

The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said the Foreign ministers had a «good discussion» on the issues of the Eastern Mediterranean and Turkey, underlining the the diplomacy is determined in defending European Union’s interests and reiterates solidarity with Greece and Cyprus. Borrel pointed at refrain from unilateral action by Turkey as a basic element to allow the dialogue to advance.

«What we want is to find paths towards a healthier relationship. It is in the mutual interest of both the European Union and Turkey» Borrell said at concluding press-conferece after two day meeting in Gymnich format, which took place in Berlin on August 27-28.

“For this reason, we must walk a fine line between preserving a true space for dialogue and, at the same time, showing collective strength in the defence of our common interests.

“We want to give a serious chance to dialogue, and I very much appreciate and thank the efforts deployed by Germany in this attempt to look for solutions through dialogue between Turkey and Greece and Cyprus.

“As High Representative, I will try to create space for negotiations on all issues of our complex and difficult relations with Turkey.

“It is equally clear that there is a growing frustration in the face of Turkish behaviour. On that, the Council expressed a political consensus to ask the relevant Council Working Groups to speed up their work in order to add individuals suggested by Cyprus to the list of the existing regime for illegal drillings in the Eastern Mediterranean, with a view to a rapid adoption.

“Finally, we also agreed that in the absence of progress in engaging with Turkey, we could develop a list of further restrictive measures that could be discussed at the European Council on 24-25 September”.

Borrell invites Ankara for broad dialogue

“Today’s announcement by Turkey of renewed drilling activities by the Yavuz vessel in a maritime zone which has been delineated by Cyprus and Egypt regrettably fuels further tensions and insecurity in the Eastern Mediterranean” reads the statement issued on Sunday August 16 by the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell on renewed drilling activities by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“This action runs counter and undermines efforts to resume dialogue and negotiations, and to pursue immediate de-escalation, which is the only path towards stability and lasting solutions, as reiterated by EU Foreign Ministers last Friday”.

“I call on the Turkish authorities to end these activities immediately and to engage fully and in good faith in a broad dialogue with the European Union”.

Turkey’s vice president Fuat Oktay criticised the recently announced defense cooperation between France and the “Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus”, the text appeared on his official Twitter micro blog on Sunday, August 16.

“It is unacceptable under any circumstances that France organizes joint exercises with the Greek Cypriot administration and deploys its military aircraft to the island contrary to the 1959-60 agreements,” Fuat Oktay said on Twitter.

“It is essential for France not to seek adventure in Cyprus-related matters, and act much more responsible” he warned.

On Saturday, August 15, it was announced that a 2017 defense cooperation agreement between Cyprus and France had entered into force this August 1.

Oktay has underlined that it is essential that international circles, especially the EU, take a stand against the “spoiled, aggressive and unlawful attitudes” of France in the region.

No attempt contrary of Turkey and the TRNC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] has a chance of succeeding in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he said.

Turkey will continue standing with the Turkish Cypriots to provide unconditional support to their just and legitimate struggle as well as “resolutely” continue the exploration within its jurisdiction area with the drill ship Yavuz, the vice president ensured.

EU for dialogue in East Mediterranean

On August 14 via a teleconference the EU Ministers of Foreign affaris discussed the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, following a grave deterioration of the security situation in recent days.

Three words reflect the outcome of the discussion: solidarity, de-escalation, and dialogue.

Solidarity:

Ministers reaffirmed the EU’s full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus. They reiterated that sovereign rights of EU Member States must be respected. They recalled EU common positions and the previous Council Conclusions of 22 March 2018 and June, July, October, December 2019, in addition to the Statement on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean of 15 May 2020.

At the same time, Ministers stressed that the serious deterioration in the relationship with Turkey is having far-reaching strategic consequences for the entire EU, well beyond the Eastern Mediterranean.

De-escalation:

Ministers stressed in particular that recent naval mobilisations by Turkey do not contribute to finding any solutions. On the contrary, they will lead to greater antagonism and distrust. They create a heightened risk of dangerous incidents. Immediate de-escalation by Turkey was considered crucial.

Dialogue:

Ministers recalled the importance they attach to relations with Turkey. They underlined that issues related to delimitation of maritime boundaries and exploitation of resources therein can only be addressed through dialogue and negotiation, in good faith, in accordance with international law and in pursuit of the principle of good neighbourly relations, and not through unilateral actions and the mobilisation of naval forces.

Ministers recalled the outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council of 13 July. They reiterated strong support for the High Representative’s efforts to re-establish dialogue and facilitate re-engagement with Turkey. At the same time, the High Representative/Vice-President is to prepare options on further appropriate measures in case tensions do not abate.

A broader discussion about relations with Turkey will be held later in August, at the Gymnich.

France has been presented by Clement Beaune, the Secretary of State in charge for the European affairs.

Mavrides MEP criticises EU-Turkey ‘engagment’ policy

After MEP Costas MAVRIDES speech criticizing the EU policy towards Turkey Anna van Densky interviewed him on perspectives of the Turkey membership in the EU, candidate country status, mounting tensions around drilling for oil and gas in Cypriot waters, breaches of human rights, and possible sanctions.

In the interview Mr. MAVRIDES underlined that regarding Turkish action in the Mediterranean it was announced that from the beginning of September they will start exploration from the ships, going beyond the Greek Islands Crete, Kasos, Karpathos, but also the first time Greece made it clear that this will not be accepted. Otherwise, we have some clear indications of de-escalation, or we are at brink of a conflict, Mr.Mavrides said.

The EU demands the respect of the international and European law, but the EU top diplomat Mr.Borrell talks about “dialog”, “breaching of our differences”, or our disputes regarding energy, reminding a tragic lesson of history, the appeasement policy which was used in 1937 to 1940 against Nazi Germany, when it was officially declared an international policy that giving concessions to Nazi will save world from total war, and the humanity paid highest price for this mistake, MEP continued.

Today the EU diplomacy does not call it “appeasement” policy, but “engagement” policy, but it follows the same steps, Mr.Mavrides pointed out. Unless the EU will form the European geopolitical strategy specifically oriented towards common defense, especially vis-à-vis Turkey, the worst scenario may repeat itself. And then Europeans will pay much heavier price, and as the supporters of the appeasement policy were condemned by history, the similar way some of nowadays politicians will be ashamed of what they say today, Mr.Mavrides warns. “The sooner we face up to the reality and defend our values as European Union having common defense, common sanctions, arms embargo, the sooner we do it, better we help people in Turkey and better we help ourselves” – Mr.Mavrides concluded. MEP MAVRIDES Chairs the Political Committee of the European Parliament (2019 – 2024) for the Mediterranean, he is member Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in Europarl and Democratic party of Cyprus.

Erdogan visits Hagia Sophia

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid a surprise visit to Hagia Sophia site just days before the first Muslim prayers will be held at the Istanbul historic building since it was reconverted to a mosque last week.

In a brief visit Erdogan took stock of the conversion work, the president’s office said on Sunday (July 19), providing images showing scaffolding inside the building.

The Diyanet, the country’s religious authority, said Christian fresco would be covered with curtain and unlit “through appropriate means during prayer times”.

Authorities said last week the mosaics would be concealed with either curtains or lasers when the first prayers are held.

In an interview with broadcaster NTV, President’s spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said on some mosaics of Mary and Gabriel that are positioned in the direction of Qiblah, where Muslims face during prayer, would be covered with curtains.

The other ther mosaics of Jesus and other Christian figures did not pose an obstacle for Muslim prayers because they are not located in the direction of Qiblah, he added, however spokesperson did not say whether they would remain uncovered at all times.

Outside prayers, Hagia Sophia will be open to all visitors and tourists and all mosaics will be uncovered, authorities have said.

It remains unknown whether Erdogan planned to be among some 500 worshippers set to attend Friday prayers.

Turkey’s top court paved the way for the conversion in a decision to revoke the edifice’s museum status conferred nearly a century ago in 1935.

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