Despite the agreement at the European Union summit in the early hours of the morning of October 2 to persuade Ankara to stop exploring for natural gas in marine areas in dispute with Greece And Cyprus, Turkey said on Wednesday that it had resumed operations with a survey vessel.
Turkey withdrew the vessel last month, ahead of the European summit in which economic sanctions were discussed, and returned it to the region on Monday. Three European diplomats said this gave the impression that Ankara was manipulating Brussels.
The diplomats and an EU official said that the leaders of the European Union countries left themselves exposed because they were unable to reach a solution to the conflict and instead proposed the “stick and carrot” method, offering numerous aid, and at the same time threatening sanctions, and this proposal appears to have failed to achieve the goal.
“The leaders of the federation have postponed the matter by saying that they will return to discuss the issue in December, and now this matter is making them sleep all over,” said a diplomat, referring to reports of Turkish and Greek naval maneuvers scheduled for late October.
Turkey, a member of NATO and a candidate to join the European Union, has challenged European foreign policy in Syria And Libya and Russia in recent months.
Is that Europe Ankara is keen to maintain close links with the West, despite its authoritarian president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who insists on his country following an independent path as a regional power.
Fakhreddin Altun, Erdogan’s aide, said in a tweet on Twitter that Turkey is committed to diplomacy, but “it is not possible to negotiate if I say, ‘What concerns me belongs to me and what belongs to you is negotiable.”
Money and business
Diplomats said that Greece and Cyprus will raise the gas dispute again when European Union leaders meet on Thursday and Friday, although the Turkish issue is not on the summit’s agenda, on the grounds that the recent escalation proves the need for urgent action.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas canceled a trip to Ankara this week to protest the return to operation of the Turkish exploration vessel Oroc President, but diplomats said that Berlin is not yet considering taking further measures.
And it was European UnionTurkey, Turkey’s largest trading partner and the largest foreign investor in it, hopes to persuade Erdogan to begin talks to clarify rights in the marine oil wealth, by offering to conclude an expanded trade agreement and end the visa restrictions in effect for Turkish citizens, and to propose allocating more funds to Syrian refugees in Turkey alongside Threatening to impose sanctions.
The statement issued by the European summit on October 2 did not go into details.
“What failed was the credibility of the offer on the part of the European Union,” said Sinan Ulgen, a former Turkish diplomat at the Carnegie Europe Center based in Istanbul. “It was not tangible enough.”
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