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Turkey confirms its boycott of the Cypriot presidency

(Credits: Wikipedia)

(BRUSSELS2) Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu confirmed this during his visit to Brussels toEuropean Policy Center on March 23. Turkey plans to boycott the Cypriot Presidency of the Council of the EU during the second half of 2. Turkey will cease its relations with the Presidency of the EU “if there is no agreement by then ". This does not mean no contact with the EU: “there will always be contact“, on foreign policy in particular, “ but not with the Greek Cypriots».

A declaration of principle of which we do not know the concrete terms. It is customary, in fact, for the Presidency of the Union to regularly “debrief” the candidate countries on certain discussions taking place at the highest level. Thus, during the last Foreign Affairs Council, a meeting of the candidate countries was organized with the High Representative and in which the presidency participated. The same practice takes place during European summits. But, normally, it is Herman Van Rompuy, the permanent president of the European Council who goes “in contact”. And not the rotating presidency. So this looks a bit like a “bluff”.

But even if this “boycott” is only practiced on one or two occasions, it will cast a shadow over Turkish-European relations, which have been difficult in recent times. Even Alain Juppé, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs – who cannot be accused of being anti-Turkish – felt that Turkey was taking a step too far: “ it is unacceptable that a country outside the European Union intends to choose who should or should not preside over the EU he answered a question from B2.

Turkish-European relations in a roller coaster

Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, however, took advantage of his appearance before the EPC to emphasize Turkey's desire to join the EU and developed his argument around “three earthquakes” which structured the relations between the two parties. This Turkish vision of relations with the rest of the continent is worth the detour. First of all, the fall of the USSR opened up important opportunities, “that Turkey has not been able to grasp, it must be admitted” he explained. The ten years that followed “were not used correctly“. Turkey was “slow to introduce democratic reforms [and] our economic performance has not been good“. For its part, the EU has “the mistake of not seeing Turkey as a partner, with all its assets“. In particular, Turkey could have been a stabilizing force for the Balkans. NB: she was involved in the European operation Althéa, even wanting to take command (see also: No Turk at the head of EUFOR Althea).

The second “earthquake” was September 11 and the security shift taken by Europe. “The rhetoric of democracy has been replaced by the rhetoric of security“, which had notable consequences on EU-Turkey relations… Indeed, Europe increasingly saw Turkey “as a risk rather than an asset“. Turkey, meanwhile, developed “a very constructive democratization process“, an economic situation”miraculous” as well as a diversification of its foreign policy agenda: “We have something to say about the entire UN agenda".

The third “earthquake” is recent, even current: the economic crisis and the Arab Spring. “Turkey is in the middleu of these crises” but at the same time she is “an island of stability“. It is therefore time for the international community, and the EU first of all, to open up to Turkey. “Turks are part of Europe [...] It’s a reality that no one can change.“. Ahmet Davutoglu therefore wants Turkey to join the EU as quickly as possible. “I don't dream, Turkey will soon be in the EU" did he declare.

An asset for EU foreign policy

Turkey is not a risk for the EU, on the contrary, it could benefit it. At the economic level first, because “today Turkey creates more jobs than the EU“. But also for foreign policy. Moreover, Ahmet Davutoglu talks “almost weekly with Catherine Ashton on the phone“. The EU with Turkey “will be a global power" he added. Turkey is already “a bridge between North and South“. The minister took the example of Somalia, mentioning the visit of the Turkish Prime Minister, Mr Erdogan (in which Davutoglu also participated), “the first plane landing in Mogadishu with a Prime Minister“. Turkey also opened the first embassy there (except those of neighboring countries). Also, "more planes, more regularly, it's important“, and that is what Turkey is doing. Generally speaking, the idea is to develop a common strategic vision, since “we defend the same values".

Europe, too, must make efforts

Ahmed Davutoglu warned Europe against itself. If he is convinced that Europe will overcome the economic crisis, it is the cultural aspect which risks posing a problem in the longer term, and in particular “growing racism“. He also deplores the lack of consistency on the part of “some Member States who want to have good bilateral relations” with Turkey, while at the European level, there are some who are blocking, “like a ghost” he concluded...  Guess!

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One thought on “Turkey confirms its boycott of the Cypriot presidency"

  • thanks to Turkey for the lesson. If after that there are still European countries favorable to membership, it is to despair of our leaders.

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