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European Dis-Union of financial interests and back-stabbing European Dis-Union of financial interests and back-stabbing
by Christos Mouzeviris
2020-12-15 11:11:41
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For a year now, we have been waiting for a break-through, a decisive action from the EU in support towards two of its members; Greece and Cyprus. Their territorial integrity has been challenged by the neighboring Turkey, however their European and Western partners, have been more than reluctant to stand by them, effectively.

Postponement after postponement, the block's leaders initally resolved to reach an agreement last Thursday, December the 10th, during the last EU Council meeting. The block concluded on the first steps towards more comprehensive sanctions against Turkey over Ankara's unauthorized gas drilling off the coast of Greece and Cyprus. Sadly, for the moment the sanctions are targeting individuals and companies, rather Turkey's leadership, economy and administration. Further actions have been delayed once more until March 2021, with the excuse of waiting the new US leadership to resume office. As if America should be dictating EU policy and mediate in Europe's internal affairs indefinitely.

It basically came down to Merkel's goverment insistence, together with a Bulgarian veto, which joined Germany's positions. During the debates and negotiations, Spain, Italy and Malta were also against any severe sanctions towards Turkey, although not as vocal. Perhaps because they knew that Germany will block any move that would hurt Turkish, and consequently German interests. Hungary was not a suprise also, as their support for Erdogan's government, plus their aversion of more refugees reaching Europe, made their move predictable.

eudis0001_400The disgraceful German attitude towards Greece, can be explained by the country's vested financial interests in Turkey. In addition, the 4 million strong Turkish community in Germany, has undoubtedly locked the two countries into a solid partnership. Bulgaria's Prime Minister, Boyko Borissov, has also a close relationship with Erdogan, so his government's objections were to be expected. However, he did not make his intentions clear earlier. Perhaps he used his veto as a carrot to lure Erdogan, in exchange for certain favors.

Particularly disapointing were the other "Club Med"nations' lack of support towards the Greek and Cypriot positions. Understandably they have their own economic interests in Turkey, as their banks and industries are entwined with the Turkish ones. However, since they decided to turn their backs to Greece, they should not complain the next time the Northern European countries, or the Frugals and the Hanseatic League, accuse them and all the South EU countries for being the problematic ones in the block.

The South is divided, that is why it is weak and easily manipulated by Germany and its satelites. The Spanish and Italian authorities, obviously prefer to serve their short-term plans and interests, rather than forming a united front within the EU, to counterpart the increasing German hegemony in Europe. It will come around and bite them on the backside, soon enough mind you. The Covid-19 crisis is not finished yet, so Europe's economy could face harsh times ahead. It would be interesting to see who will be blamed again for being corrupt and lazy, and will be asked to pay the price.

The only serious and helpful to Greece consequences that Turkey faced, came from the other side of the Atlantic. The US administration finally and despite Trump's objections, proceeded with sanctioning Erdogan's government by kicking Turkey out of the F-35 fighter jet program. Even though the American actions were not necessarily a result of US support towards Greece, rather a punishment of Turkey for purchasing Russian S-400 air defense system in July 2019. Still, it was a welcomed move and a relief for the Greeks, to see the Turks without the latest US made aircrafts.

The reluctance of the West to punish Turkey, can be summed up by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg's statement, prior to the EU Summit last Thursday. Mr Stoltenberg stressed that the bloc’s leaders must not to forget the country’s importance to the transatlantic alliance and the West at large. “We need to make sure that we realize the importance of Turkey as part of NATO and also as part of the Western family,” he said.

I wonder then, since the West is so keen in keeping Turkey in its circles no matter what, why isn't the country in the EU yet. In fact, why aren't both Norway and Turkey members of the block, since Mr Stoltenberg is so keen in keeping the Turks part of the West. Norway can mediate for Turkey to join the EU and Schengen Area once it does, plus accept its workers, just like Germany. It could also help finance the costs of Turkish integration into the EU, thus cementing the country's place in the Western sphere. Instead, the Norwegians are happy to cherry pick their engagement and involvement with Europe, as they are lecturing us about who should stay in the Western family.

It is what the Turks want after all. Greece and Cyprus are paying the price for the decades long debate in Europe, if it should accept Turkey as a full member. Erdogan is blackmailing the EU by constantly attacking Greece, or weaponising and using the refugees. And the Europeans are just standing by and watch indecisively, as the Turkish President is being persistent in his demands.

Erdogan has repeatedly called on the European Union for dialogue, warning the bloc not to become a “tool for enmities” during escalating tensions over the Eastern Mediterranean. “We expect the EU to keep its promises, not to discriminate against us. We don’t see ourselves elsewhere but in Europe. We envisage building our future together with Europe,” he stated in a video address to his party congress, in the end of last November.

After the EU Council meeting, he stated that the sanctions imposed were unlawful and biased. "There are a lot of rights that should be given to Turkey by the EU countries from visa liberalisation to the customs exemption. I hope this process will be finalised in a fair manner," he said. It is what Turkey wants, since 1987 when it applied for EU membership. But Europe has dragged the debate and negotiations for too long, so the Turks grow impatient.

Greece and Cyprus are caught in this conflict and held as hostages, to increase the pressure which Erdogan places on the European leadership, for Turkey to be accepted and integrated further into European institutions. However, in reality Europeans do not desire Turkey in the EU. The public opinion is staunchly against it in its majority, plus it will require major effort, reforms and funds, to digest a large member state such as Turkey.

Consequently, Greece must overspend in order to fend off Turkish threats, as the West gets richer by the constant supply of arms to either the Greeks or the Turks themselves. It is clear that the situation is not only the two nations' fault, but also the result of European and American hypocricy and double standards.

First they lure Turkey into the Western "family" of nations, to prevent it from ending up as a Russian ally,or a regional power of its own. They offer it partial access to the European market, just enough to keep it hooked, as they benefit from the country's resources and strategic location. But they do whatever it is in their power, not to accept it as a full member, because it would hurt their economy and they would face a back-clash by their own voters back home.

Greece is being treated in a similar way. It is forced to bear a great deal of the burden to protect Europe's outer borders, plus become the punching bag of Turkish desperation and aggression, in order to blackmail the Europeans to fulfill their promises. Thus, it is being forced to buy weapons it does not need, so that it can cope with Turkey's threats. Yet it is being mocked as it overspends and it is being forced to become Europe's debt colony, or dumping ground as an outcome.

Additionally, when Europe decides to stand up to Russia by quickly applying economic sanctions against it, something that it refuses to do against the Turks, Greece must follow suit, even if it hurts its economy. We cannot export to Russia our own goods, plus we need their tourism. Not only Europe stops us from trading with a country that we have traditionally good relations with, but it does not compensate us when we lose out as we join their power games, nor it supports us when we need their help agaist our neighbour, Turkey.

The EU is far from being a block of solidarity. In fact it makes the very meaning of the word an utter joke, when it uses it to celebrate its successes. Germany monopolizes the EU and is pushing its own agenda, which is often doing nothing. Others like Poland and Hungary recently, have taken the whole of the EU as a hostage, when they blocked the much laboured and debated COVID recovery fund, that would benefit all during the current pandemic emergency. In order to blackmail the rest of the members, they thought fit to delay its approval to serve their own interests. Something that the Dutch and the "Frugals" have also done before them.

It is time for Europe to make up its mind on what it wants out of Turkey, and stick by this decision. If it wants to appease America and keep Turkey close and in Western ranks, then it is the US that must pay up for the Turkish integration into the EU. Alternatively, Europe could part ways with American interests in the region, or its own for that matter, and allow Turkey to go it alone or with Russia, whatever the cost. But it will then be clear that the Turks can stop dreaming about EU membership once and for all. Greece should not be paying the price of this situation indefinitely.

Prior the EU Council meeting, Erdogan went on to shrug off any potential EU and US measures. “Any sanctions decision that can be taken against Turkey do not concern us much. On the eastern Mediterranean, we will continue to protect whatever our rights there are,” he stated. If he sticks to his words, then it is clear that Europeans are just kicking the bucket further down to spring, and by then the Turks will make an utter joke of the EU and its so called solidarity.

Erdogan has openly insulted the French President Emmanuel Macron, that does not seem to bother France's European partners.He keeps defying the EU and the US by continuing sending Turkish ships to drill in Cypriot waters or violate the Greek ones, but still European countries are concerned about their banks or investments in Turkey. One country has taken the whole block of countries as hostage and has proven that it can force it to back down or postpone any decisions, solely on their own financial interests. But that will utlimately prove to be detrimental to any EU global diplomatic aspirations, that it may have for the future as an emerging power.

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