Europe has finally decide to call Turkey out. For months, the Europe Union warned President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the consequences of his antics in the Eastern Mediterranean and the malicious role he plays in other conflicts, mainly Libya and Syria.
On Thursday, the EU foreign ministers will decide on sanctions against Turkey over the Mediterranean gas dispute. Erdogan was told in October by the European leaders to stop exploring in disputed waters in the Mediterranean or face consequences. European diplomats say the block also takes into account the Turkish belligerent actions in Syria and Libya, where Turkish military involvement threatens a fragile ceasefire brokered by Europe and the United Nations.
These actions should serve as a wake-up call for Turkey. Erdogan holds the entire country hostage to his fantasy. Turkey must reach out and repair its relations with neighbours before it is too late
The European Union says Turkish drilling and survey ships have continued to work in waters contested by Greece and Cyprus. European Council President Charles Michel, who chairs EU summits, called on Turkey last week to stop playing a “cat-and-mouse” game by offering concessions only to reverse them. Earlier Germany, France and other European nations warned that their patience was running thin. This week France noted that it was time to slap the long- anticipated sanctions against Ankara.
The crisis is the most serious between Turkey and the EU which will dash any hope left for Ankara to join the block, an ambition Turkey harboured for decades. It also comes at time when Turkey’s economy is shrinking — so far this year it is the worst performing in the emerging markets.
The Turkish currency, Lira, tumbled to record lows this year leading to the firing of the central bank governor and the minister of finance. The Turkish opposition says that Erdogan’s dangerous games in the Mediterranean and Libya are a way to divert the public attention away from the country’s economic woes.
This time, Erdogan’s luck seems to be running out. After years of antagonising his neighbours and sending mercenaries and arms to fuel conflicts in Syria and Libya, the world has had enough.
In addition to the EU exacted sanctions, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed at December 1 Nato meeting his country’s frustration with Erdogan’s aggressive policies. President-elect Joe Biden is on record saying that “Turkey is the real problem,” and that he would tell “Erdogan that he will pay a heavy price,” for his actions in the Middle East.
These actions should serve as a wake-up call for Turkey. Erdogan holds the entire country hostage to his fantasy. Turkey must reach out and repair its relations with neighbours before it is too late.