EU foot-dragging on sanctions emboldening Erdoğan - analyst

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is multiplying provocations against some EU countries while the bloc is foot-dragging over a stern response to Ankara’s muscle flexing, wrote UAE political analyst Salem Al Ketbi on Wednesday.

EU plans for economic sanctions targeting Turkey on account of its hostile actions on the fringes of Europe may prove to be both too late and too ineffective, the analyst wrote in the Jerusalem Post.

The bloc’s reluctance stems from Turkey holding the EU ransom over a number issues such as refugees and NATO membership, according to the analyst, but Europe must make it clear that it will not stand for the tactics of the Erdoğan regime. 

EU leaders will meet on Dec. 10-11 in a critical summit to decide on the next steps regarding EU-Turkey relations.The summit arrives amid increasing escalation on a range of issues, including a row with France over radical Islam and gas drillings in the eastern Mediterranean.

Sanctions are also on the table, according to French Minister of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune.

The EU has been taking its time in responding to Ankara. In October, it castigated Turkey’s provocations as “totally unacceptable,’’ but postponed any decision on sanctions against the country until December.

“Erdogan does not perceive European patience with a conscious political vision. He sees it as a sign of weakness and pursues his provocation,’’ according to Al Ketbi, who pointed the example of Erdoğan’s call for a boycott of French products in Turkey and the Muslim world as an example to this end.

Moreover, the decline of lira is likely to prompt Erdoğan to ramp up military adventures, Al Ketbi wrote.

The lira has lost more than a quarter of its value in 2020, partly due to concerns among investors about Turkey’s deteriorating relations with the United States, Europe and regional powers.