Gas dispute: is the EU too soft on Turkey?
Sanctions will be imposed on Belarus but not on Turkey. This is the result of last week's EU special summit. The heads of state and government will simply continue to threaten the country with punitive measures and try to use the prospect of eased trade to coax Ankara into stopping its exploratory gas drilling in the Mediterranean. Disappointment and indignation prevail in the commentary columns.
A recipe for disaster
Brussels is simply postponing the problem with its half-baked carrot and stick strategy, observes Duvar English:
“The EU is opting for dialogue with Turkey and is ready to give something in return for cooperation - the carrots: and these are the updating of the Customs Union, trying to expand trade and further cooperation over the refugee issue. ... Although visions of carrots malinger in the air; so do the specters of 'sticks'. The EU Conclusion framed it as follows: 'The EU will use all the instruments and the options at its disposal in order to defend its interests and those of its Member States. ... The European Council will take decisions as appropriate at the latest at its December meeting.' ... So, if Cyprus Question is continued to be placed in the middle of Turkey-EU relations that sounds more like a recipe for disaster arriving just around Christmas.”
Merkel doesn't care about European solidarity
Unlike Athens, the chancellor has asserted her national interests, columnist Kyra Adam applauds ironically in Dromos tis Aristeras:
“She has secured her country's valuable economic relations with Turkey - via the EU - and 'neutralised' the permanent threats emanating from Turkey on the refugee issue for the time being. She did so in disregard of European solidarity with two EU Member States (Greece and Cyprus) whose national sovereignty and rights are threatened. ... The Greek government has not done its job because it didn't even manage to ensure that [the summit's final document] mentions 'sanctions' against Turkey. ... On the contrary, Athens has committed itself to improving relations between the EU and Turkey.”
Nothing but rhetorical incantations
Der Standard is disappointed with the EU summit:
“Rarely have the 27 leaders of the EU member states confirmed so clearly what the rest of the world already thinks of their common foreign and security policy. ... There can be no talk here of resolve or powerful intervention in the crises and wars in neighbouring countries. Even close EU partner countries, those which violate human rights and scorn democracy, need not reckon with any consequences from Brussels. Nothing much comes from there apart from constantly reformulated rhetorical incantations. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has now pushed through the 'threat' of a 'constructive dialogue' with Turkey. Well bang!”
Sanctions of no use to Cyprus
Cyprus Mail criticizes the Cypriot government's fixation on punishing Ankara:
“Sanctions against Turkey have become a fixation for the Anastasiades government which appears to have focused all its energies on making this happen. Are they part of a strategy that will help attain a tangible objective that will benefit the country? ... Sanctions would not stop Turkey's unlawful actions - if anything the provocations could be stepped up - it would not enhance prospects of a Cyprus settlement and it would threaten the Turkey-related interests of many of our EU partners that will side against Cyprus. The only thing the government was likely to achieve was a small moral victory over Turkey, which may gloss over our inability to stop the violations of our EEZ but would have no practical benefit for Cyprus.”
Enough of this circus!
It's unacceptable that the sanctions against Belarus were achieved only after lengthy wrangling and once Nicosia renounced its veto right, NRC Handelsblad fumes:
“To be able to act, it's better to renounce veto rights. Even when it comes to foreign policy, traditionally the crown jewel of national sovereignty. The abolition of veto rights certainly means a loss of power for smaller member states. On the other hand, the collective is strengthened. What's more, the abolition need not apply across the board. Veto rights could, for example, be waived on matters such as human rights, sanctions and quick diplomatic interventions. ... In any event, the EU can no longer afford a sanctions circus such as the one we've been privy to in recent weeks.”