The reality of EU Summit conclusions on Turkey -Yannis Koutsomitis, Cengiz Aktar

The European Council’s conclusion announced on Thursday regarding eastern Mediterranean and EU-Turkey relations was most probably a tacit agreement that pleased sides, Ahval contributor and political scientist Cengiz Aktar said.

“I think both parties decided to be happy with this deal,” Aktar said.

The conclusion adopted by the EU was no surprise for Greece and Cyprus, which Turkey remains at odds with over hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean, according to Yannis Koutsomitis, editor of Kappa News in Athens.

Koutsomitis and Aktar, discussed the European Council’s conclusion adopted on Thursday in regard of the eastern Mediterranean with Yavuz Baydar, Ahval’s Editor-in-Chief in the Hot Pursuit podcast.

“In Athens, now they know what to expect from Brussels and European capitals in regard of the eastern Mediterranean,” Koutsomitis said. “Turkey’s vested interests in some European countries such as in Hungary, in Italy, in Spain and of course in Germany, makes it almost impossible for the EU to impose legitimate sanctions against the Turkish government.”

After a discussion on the situation in the eastern Mediterranean and on EU’s relations with Turkey, the European Council on Thursday said that the block was “ready to engage with Turkey in a phased, proportionate and reversible manner, provided that the current de-escalation is sustained and that Turkey engages constructively.”

While putting the implementation of possible sanctions on hold and despite striking a more conciliatory tone, EU leaders urged Turkey “to abstain from renewed provocations or unilateral actions in breach of international law.”

According to Aktar, the equation is not about what is happening in Turkey and how Turkey behaved in the country, but is about the withdrawal of the Turkish boats, vessels and the fighter jets and how the EU will react to it in the weeks to come.

“No one cares about the domestic situation in Turkey, neither Turks nor the Europeans,” Aktar said.

The conclusion is an insult for Turkey, as the EU leaders don’t even mention Turkey as a candidate country and they talk very elusively about the visa exemption, but the Turkish side decided to be happy with that, Aktar said.

“They have come with the only possible carrot that may sooth Ankara, which is the revision of customs union,” he said, adding however that such an outcome was strictly impossible.

“Just days after the aggressive actions by the Turkish leadership regarding human rights which spoiled somehow the positive mood that was hanging around the European leadership who wanted to make some gestures to the Turkish government regarding the EU-Turkey relations, I don’t think there could be much more expecting from the bloc,” Koutsomitis said.

Greece and Cyprus have also got a bit more than they were expecting, because they feared for much worse, he said.

“There were no unpleasant surprises for Athens, they know everyone’s position regarding EU-Turkey relations,” according to Koutsomitis.