ANKARA – Amid US sanctions against Ankara, Turkish political scientist and expert on Turkish-American relations, Can Baydarol, spoke about the recent release of the two Greek military detainees held in Turkey and the statements by European officials in support of the Turks following the fall of lira.
These events can be seen as a portent of a new stage in relations between Turkey and the EU according to Can.
“After the US started an economic war against Turkey, the European Union countries began to make important statements. First the European Parliament, then Germany’s Minister of Economy and Energy Peter Altmaier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and a series of Italian politicians demonstrated in defense of Turkey, the latter also taking a symbolic step towards Europe, releasing two Greek soldiers who had been in a Turkish prison for more than 5 months,” said the expert.
According to him, this step was received positively by Athens who soon reacted to the gesture inviting the Turkish Defense Minister, Hulusi Akar, to visit Greece.
“In my view, all this indicates that in the future Turkey and the EU, which have been on the same side of the barricade in confrontation with US policy, will take more joint action,” Baydarol said.
In the opinion of the expert, the positive trends that have emerged in Turkish-European relations are not merely cyclical.
“For example, in its official communiqué, Germany pointed out that the increase in crisis trends in the Turkish economy does not correspond to the interests of Berlin, so it is a matter of relations based on mutual advantages, so I suppose that in the future soon we can expect positive steps on such issues like the renewal of the Customs Union agreement and the liberalization of the visa regime between Turkey and the EU,” he noted.
By pursuing that logic, Baydarol continues, the US has indeed declared an economic war not only against Turkey but also against the EU.
“Today, in Turkey, there are 22,000 foreign companies, which account for around 50% of exports, while 70% of these companies are European companies, of which 6,000 are German. This directly affects the interests of Germany and other European countries,” he said.
Meanwhile, the expert says that in this situation you cannot also rule out the military factor:
“One of the most fearsome scenarios for the EU is the possible NATO exit. Ankara’s review of its policy on Syrian refugees or defense can be a nightmare for Europe. I believe that this is the beginning of a new stage in relations between them. This is not idealism, but the result of the formation of a new balance of forces and interests influenced by changing external factors.”