European Union leaders are expected to discuss at their summit, which begins today, Thursday, a list of sanctions against Turkey, with a view to inducing it to make concessions in the gas dispute with Greece and Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean region.
The summit will be held today, Thursday and tomorrow, Friday, as Athens is betting on it to put pressure on Ankara, as it demands the adoption of deterrent sanctions against it, threatening not to cooperate in the Belarus file if the summit refuses to do so.
While there are estimates of the possibility of announcing sanctions on Turkey in response to the Greek desire, amid explanations regarding Ankara’s recent decision to withdraw the “Aruj Reis” ship to the shore as a maneuver to ease the direction of sanctions against it, other European parties see the withdrawal of the ship as a “goodwill gesture” before the summit.
European officials had talked about the necessity of adopting a “carrot and stick” policy with Turkey regarding the Eastern Mediterranean crisis, a proposition that the latter rejected strongly, stressing that it is not the type of country that can be treated in this way.
List of penalties
The European Union foreign ministers who held a meeting in Berlin at the end of last August agreed to a request by Cyprus to discuss imposing sanctions on Turkey because of its role in its exploration operations in water areas claimed by Cyprus.
The European hinting at the new sanctions came from the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who told Reuters: “There is a possibility of new sanctions being imposed on Turkey, unless progress is made towards reducing tension with Greece and Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean, and that the bloc wants to give dialogue a serious opportunity. “.
The list of sanctions that the European Union has imposed on Turkey includes:
Ships or other assets used in exploration operations.
Banning the use of European Union ports and equipment.
Imposing restrictions on the financial and economic infrastructure associated with these activities (Turkish exploration for gas in the maritime areas of Greece).
In addition to sanctions against sectors in the Turkish economy and the banks that finance the institutions involved in exploration.
It is noteworthy that the decisions to impose sanctions need the consensus of the countries of the Union, and this means that any country can individually block the decision.
Although no statements were issued by leaders in the European Union regarding sanctions, European Union foreign policy official Josep Borrell hinted that the sanctions will not be limited to people, but will extend to companies contributing to gas exploration, that is, drilling and research vessels that work for Turkey, so that the sanctions will be closed. European ports are facing them and depriving them of spare parts, and in the next stage of escalation it is possible to consider imposing sanctions against entire economic sectors, Borrell said.
Earlier, the European Union imposed sanctions on 3 companies – including a Turkish one – for “violating the arms embargo” imposed by the United Nations on Libya, which sparked an angry response from Ankara.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said at the time that “the inclusion of the European Union of one of our shipping companies in the sanctions list does not carry any value from our perspective.”
Turkey is not caring
The leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party, Rasoul Towson, ruled out that the European Union would impose serious sanctions on Turkey, especially since the leaders of the European Union are not in agreement on this issue.
Towson told Al-Jazeera Net, “The European Union can stop commercial exchanges with us and prevent European tourists from arriving in our country, but on the other hand, the Union knows that we have tools that bother them very much, such as opening borders to refugees and strengthening relations with Russia.”
“Turkey is not the old Turkey, so we don’t care about Europe’s threats,” added Towson, a former lawmaker in the Turkish parliament.
He added, “If they decide to impose some formal sanctions, they will not implement them, and Ankara has become accustomed to their successors of promises. They promised to lift the visa from Turkey, so they failed, and they promised to renew the customs agreement, so they failed. They also promised to give 3 billion euros to the refugees and did not fulfill their promise.”
Pro forma penalties
Turkish media reported that at the present time, given all the economic issues and the refugee file and others between Ankara and the European Union, it is unrealistic for the Union to take a decision to stop negotiations and impose effective sanctions, noting that economic sanctions related to the “Aruj Reis” ship are on the table. the Union.
She pointed out that if there were no negative events that would increase the tension between Athens and Ankara in the eastern Mediterranean, the European Union would go to search for a compromise solution to ease the conflict.
Turkish observers believe that the European Union will not impose harsh sanctions on Turkey, and that it is not interested in closing the channels of dialogue with it.
According to the former Turkish diplomat, Sinan Ulgen, the Turks are unanimous on one point, which is that the European sanctions that will be considered will not be effective, because “if they are heavy, they will not find the required support because the decisions are taken unanimously, and if they are light, they will not affect Turkey.”
He added, “Light sanctions, will not only reinforce the perception that Europe is against Turkey, which will strengthen the rally around the Turkish government and encourage its policy that it adopted at the beginning of the conflict.”
And in the context; Turkish journalist Yassin Govanc believes that according to these sanctions, the European Union can limit the scope of the customs union, which enables Turkey and the European Union to exchange goods almost without customs duties, and it is also possible to officially announce the end of Turkey’s accession negotiations to the Union, so the issues of the customs union and the accession negotiations The European Union are the two most important diplomatic pressure cards for the European Union.
“Likewise, these two means of pressure will not change the thinking of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” Govanc, who is close to the Turkish government, told Al-Jazeera Net.
He believes that the European Union is in trouble, as it “can not impose sanctions without the consensus of all members, and this means that the local sanctions on people or companies will have little effect.”