What caused Turkish-European sanctions war?

What caused Turkish-European sanctions war?

European Union decisions to curb contacts and funding for Turkey over its drilling for gas and oil off Cyprus will not affect Ankara’s determination to pursue energy activities in the region, Turkey's foreign ministry said.

"The decisions will not affect in the slightest our country’s determination to continue hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean," Reuters cited the ministry as saying.

"Turkey will continue to defend its rights and the rights of Turkish Cypriots, and will also intensify its activities in this aspect," the statement reads.

The Turkish ministry added that the EU’s failure to mention Turkish Cypriots in its decisions "showed how biased and partisan the EU is on the subject of Cyprus."

On July 15, EU foreign ministers suspended negotiations on the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement and agreed not to hold the Association Council and further meetings of the EU-Turkey high-level dialogues for the time being. It also endorsed a proposal to reduce the pre-accession assistance to Turkey for 2020 and invited the European Investment Bank to review its lending activities in Turkey, notably with regard to sovereign-backed lending.  

A research fellow of the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of the Center for Modern Turkish Studies Amur Hajiyev, speaking with the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that European sanctions were the result of a two-year conflict between Ankara and Brussels over natural gas deposits near Northern Cyprus. "Turkey hoped that the issue of deposits would be included in the broader topic of the Cyprus settlement," he outlined Turkey's position.

However, the EU decided to separate these issues. "At the same time, one should not associate these sanctions with the supply of S-400 or any program of forcing Turkey out of the West. Too drastic steps will provoke indignation in Turkey first, and more drastic measures later. In my opinion, the implementation of sanctions will be very moderate because of this, rather recommendatory," Amur Hajiyev stressed.

"If the European Union begins to put pressure on Erdogan and his entourage, they will achieve the opposite - the consolidation of politicians around Erdogan. Everyone understands that the sanctions will not solve the Cyprus dispute, they will only demonstrate the EU’s attempt to impose its will on Turkey, which, of course, is unacceptable for the Turks," the expert added.

"In general, a certain conditional coalition of Israel, Egypt, Greece and Cyprus is being created against Turkey. As a result, Turkey feels encircled now. All this brings issues related to Northern Cyprus to the sphere of ensuring state security and foreign policy priorities. Therefore if the EU does not change its approach to solving the Cyprus dispute, the situation will be on the verge, although Brussels will not overstep this line. Otherwise, the current tension could escalate into a military conflict," the director of the Center for Modern Turkish Studies concluded.

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