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Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to soften his relations with France and the European Union




Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to soften his relations with France and the European Union
TURKEY / EUROPEAN UNION. As Istanbul prepares to host talks between Turkey and Greece on 25 January 2021, with problems relating to the Aegean Sea on the agenda, Turkish diplomacy is totally changing tone in this new year with regard to the European Union. The previous meeting of this kind took place in Athens in March 2016. Since then, the gap had widened between Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the one hand and the EU and Greece on the other, against the backdrop of gas exploration in disputed waters and in general on the determination of maritime areas in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Turkish President announced on Tuesday 12 January 2021, during a speech to the ambassadors of the EU Member States in Ankara, that he wanted to "put our relations with the European Union back on track. We hope that our European friends will show the same willingness". This declaration comes after the decision in December 2020 by EU leaders meeting within the European Council to sanction, on an individual basis, the perpetrators of Turkey's actions deemed "illegal and aggressive" in the Mediterranean against Greece and Cyprus.

Turning the page on relations with the EU

Already, at the very beginning of the year, Mevlüt Cavusoglu, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, had expressed his will to "normalise" his relations with France, which had become execrable with several exchanges often unworthy of diplomatic relations and even poisonous exchanges between heads of state. After calling him, in September 2020, "alleged Napoleon in the Mediterranean campaign", a month later, the Turkish president had even questioned the "mental health" of Emmanuel Macron (following his positions on the cartoons and Mohammed and on Islamist separatism in France). While calling for a boycott of French products, like other Muslim countries. As late as December 2020, he expressed the hope that France would "get rid of its president as soon as possible".

"Making 2021 a successful year for EU-Turkey relations is within our reach. We can achieve this by working on a long-term vision, far from prejudices and apprehensions," Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted. The Turkish President also had a meeting with Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, on 9 January 2021. As stated in a statement published on his Facebook account, during this video conference Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated that the European Union was at the top of the Turkish agenda and that Turkey wanted to turn the page on its relations with the European Union with this new year. In particular, he called for a return to summits between Turkey and the EU and high-level dialogues between its leaders. All these meetings have been suspended since July 2019.



 

Eric Apim


Tuesday, January 12th 2021



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