Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said today, Monday, that Turkey is sending the wrong signals to the European Union by withdrawing from an agreement to combat violence against women and closing the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP).
On his arrival at a meeting of the foreign ministers of the European Union in Brussels, Maas said: “What we have seen in the last few days is the HDP ban, and in particular the withdrawal from the Istanbul Agreement, definitely sends the wrong signal.”
However, according to Maas, there are signs of a de-escalation of the ongoing dispute between Turkey and Greece in the eastern Mediterranean. The European Union threatened sanctions against Ankara last year after the decades-old dispute escalated.
Maas added: “There are light and dark spots on Turkey … We need to examine these contradicting signals that are emanating from Turkey today. We will continue to seek ongoing dialogue and use that dialogue to address the issues that we think Turkey is sending the wrong signals. “
Swedish Foreign Minister Anne Lendy said today, Monday that “Turkey is experiencing worrying developments due to random arrests, particularly among the ranks of the HDP”.
The Minister’s words came ahead of a meeting of European Union Foreign Ministers which today focused on relations with Turkey, Russia and the countries of the southern Mediterranean.
The EU Commissioner for External Relations, Josep Borrell, presented the ministers with a “comprehensive report on relations with Turkey” and their activities close to the Union.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said that the Borrell report “identifies Turkey as a problem for all of Europe” but that the report is “incomplete as it does not address Ankara’s violations of the law of the sea”. “The Borrell report identifies Turkey as a problem for Europe and suggests ways of sanctions and incentives” to resolve this crisis, he added.
According to the sources of the correspondent for the Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath channels in Brussels, “The Borrell report does not preclude the imposition of sanctions if Turkey withdraws from recent quiet moves.”
Last week, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday during a video conference ahead of the European summit scheduled for March 25th Establish a calm relationship with the block. 26th
According to a statement made after the meeting, Michel and von der Leyen emphasized “the importance of continuing de-escalation and building trust in order to create more positive relations between the European Union and Turkey”.
For his part, Erdogan insisted that he expect “tangible results” at the European summit and, according to his office, called for a “high-level dialogue” to be initiated.
Europeans are cautious about changing the Turkish President’s behavior after a year of extreme tensions and are not hiding their concerns.
Last week the European Union condemned violations of fundamental rights in Turkey and warned Ankara of the ban on the (pro-Kurdish) People’s Democratic Party (HDP), the country’s second largest opposition party.
“Some improvements have been observed since the beginning of the year, but we have to see if they are sustainable. Internal developments in Turkey are of great importance,” a European official said last week.
He stated that the assessment of Turkish behavior takes into account the human rights situation as well as Ankara’s decisions in regional conflicts in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Nagorno-Karabakh.
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