European Commission Says it Will Rethink Position if Turkish Provocations Continue

The European Parliament in Strasbourg. Photo Credit: pxfuel.com

The European Union will “have to think again” what it can do if Turkey continues its provocative actions and statements, the European Commission’s spokesperson for foreign affairs issues, Peter Stano, said on Monday. He also repeated that the EU will always stand of the side of its member states.

“I can only repeat… that the EU has expressed full solidarity with its member-states, be it Cyprus, be it Greece, be it France now. So there is full solidarity because we are the EU and these countries are a part of the EU,” Stano said, replying to questions about the Commission’s response to the disparaging comments made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about French President Emmanuel Macron.

He said that EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell was in constant contact with all stakeholders and that his comments on Twitter reflected the European position.

“The high representative has expressed himself on the basis of the European position on Turkey. We are constantly in touch with our European partners and the position published on Twitter yesterday by the High Representative reflects the European position. You will have seen member-states reacting individually about the unacceptable comments which were made by President Erdogan,” Stano stated.

“The position of the 27 member-states of the European Union, the European position, is very clearly set out in the conclusions of the last Council, and indeed in (those of) the Council on the 1st of October,” he added.

“They repeated Europe’s expectations of Turkey, what we expect Turkey to do; we have expectations of Turkey if we are to continue along a positive line in our relationship. However, if we keep getting these provocations, if we keep getting tension, with provocations against the EU or a member-state of the EU, then we have to think again what we can do about such actions or any statements,” Stano said.

Asked whether the next meeting by European leaders to discuss Turkey might be brought forward, he noted that this was “very much a decision for the president of the European Council” and referred reporters to the German government over the results of its mediation efforts.

“The high representative is in constant, regular contact with his colleagues. We’re always discussing developments. He’s in contact with the foreign ministers. If he senses that there is agreement among the member state foreign ministers to do that, then of course we will change the opinion and perhaps have another meeting,” Stano clarified.

“The next meeting is in November so, if there is a member-state that wishes to have it discussed, then they can ask to put that point on the agenda and the high representative will also make suggestions on the agenda for that meeting, on the basis of his consultations with member-states,” he said.

He then added that “nothing can be ruled out” in terms of an extraordinary foreign affairs council, though there was no plan for one at present.

Stano also noted that a solution as outlined by the EU would be a de-escalation and change of behavior on the Turkish side.

With information from AMNA