EU pressure on Turkey does not bring the desired result

EU pressure on Turkey does not bring the desired result

Athens, August 17, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

In wait of the formal request from the Government of Turkey to Greece for the extradition of the eight fugitives of the Turkish military, the tension has risen with announcements from the Foreign Ministries of Greece and Turkey.

With various pretexts statements are being made that harm the good until recently relations between the heads of Foreign Ministries, Kotzias and Cavusoglu.

Both the statements on the issue of guarantees and of the Turkish troops in Cyprus, as well as the non performance of the liturgy on August 15 in the church of Panagia Sumela in the region of Pontos in Turkey, put strain on the relationships, but not disturb them.

At the moment, with the Turkish army in a period of rearrangement and persecutions, a new issue that would concern it would cause even bigger problems in the already “problematic” army.

The issue of Panagia Sumela and the non celebration of the Divine Liturgy could have been avoided if the works being done lately for the maintenance and restoration of static problems that have occurred in the monastery had been made known. But the known circles, which look for such opportunities to cause friction, highlighted an insignificant issue as a main one, dragging several politicians along that path.

According to information of IBNA, both the Greek and the Turkish side want the communication channels, which were built in the last year to remain open. As such, although the scheduled meeting between Nikos Kotzias and Mevlut Cavusoglu in August is still “in the air”, all efforts are taken to ease the tension and have the meeting as soon as possible, as the issues that remain open are quite significant.

With its prompt reaction of the failed coup attempt Greece has the positive comments of the Turkish Government which remains to be confirmed in the forthcoming meeting of the two ministers, although the issue of the extradition of the “8” remains a thorn.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry knows very well that certain procedures must be followed for the issuing of the Turkish military fugitives, which will take some time. But there is pressure from various circles in Turkey who call for their immediate issuing, which puts pressure on the Turkish diplomacy.

On the other hand, EU member states threaten Turkey with expulsion from the accession talks and exert pressure – not always in a proper manner – to follow the way they see fit in the after the coup era.

Misplaced are the statements of both the Austrian Foreign Minister, and his Swedish counterpart, causing as is natural irritation to the Turkish side. The Europeans should try to strengthen the democratization process of Turkey, not by waving the finger but in practice, instead they insist on targeting the Turkish President and the government, resulting in that pressure being relieved in many ways and in different directions.

Turkey needs calmness and clear mind to overcome the shock of the coup. Jerky movements from some inside the EU do not help in this direction, as they serve the populists and opponents of Europe in Turkey, forcing – in an admittedly crucial moment – Turkey’s policy, which is still looking to find its footing, to react strongly.