The Istanbul Convention may become the new rupture point between the European Union and Turkey. Gender rights are just starting to be a battleground in Turkey, Poland and beyond.
The seismic research vessel Oruç Reis is now parked inside the port of Antalya. The magic behind the rapprochement is named “Merkel” — but the recent spike of the Euro (and the U.S. dollar) vis-à-vis the Turkish lira may have to do with the sudden change of hearts in Ankara.
The European Union has updated its list of "safe countries" from which non-essential travel is allowed. The bloc has again excluded Turkey from the list. This also means that EU citizens who travel to Turkey will be placed under quarantine for 14 days when they go back to their country.
Turkey on July 14 rejected EU condemnations of its decision to convert Istanbul's Hagia Sophia into a mosque. “Turkey rejects the words of condemnation used by the EU for turning Hagia Sophia back into a mosque,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said. Greece, meanwhile, described Turkey's Hagia Sophia decision as "unnecessary and petty."
Ankara wants to play the “Leader of the Muslim world card” — but there is more to Hagia Sophia’s conversion than just that. Just like the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “West Bank annexation” policy, Ankara banks on the strategy of “creating an international problem to overshadow debating domestic grievances and making national politics dependent on the existing government through isolation” strategy.
EU foreign ministers condemned the Turkish government's decision to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque and called on Ankara "to urgently reconsider and reverse this decision." “This decision will inevitably fuel the mistrust, promote renewed division between religious communities and undermine our efforts at dialog and cooperation,” EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said on July 13.
A German politician has called for ending the accession talks between the European Union and Turkey following Ankara's decision to convert Istanbul's Hagia Sophia into a mosque. "We should have the courage to end the EU accession negotiations with Turkey," Florian Hahn said.
The European Union has approved sending Turkey €485 million for ensuring urgent humanitarian aid to refugees. “The EU will support refugees in Turkey as long as the humanitarian needs persist. This new funding shows our deep concern for the most vulnerable, especially now that the coronavirus has further exacerbated their already dire situation," Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic said.
The European Parliament held a debate entitled “Stability and Security in the Mediterranean and the negative role of Turkey” on July 9. Several MEPs called for a complete end to accessions talks with Turkey, saying the country should no longer receive payments from the EU budget as part of pre-accession support.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said that Ankara would be forced to respond to the European Union if the bloc adopts additional measures against Turkey. "We see that Turkey will be on the agenda of the Commission meeting and summit because of a number of countries, including France. Adopting decisions against Turkey won't solve problems, but deepen them," he said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said that Turkey was treated unfairly with the decision to exclude it from the European Union's safe travel list. "We see that Turkey is being treated unfairly and that some countries were included in the list as a political gesture," he said, adding that the decision to exclude Turkey is political.
Germany tells Turkey travel warning will be regularly reviewed, as Ankara asks EU to correct ‘mistake’
Germany will keep reviewing travel advice for Turkey, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on July 2, saying any decisions were coordinated with the EU and based on reliable data on infections and the health situation. Earlier, Turkey said that it is disappointed by the European Union's decision to exclude it from the list of countries recommended for non-essential travel.
The European Union has named 14 countries whose citizens are deemed "safe" to be let in starting on July 1, and the list excludes Turkey due to soaring coronavirus infections.
Turkey will be lifting a 20-percent customs tax on melt blown fabrics used for mask production. An executive order also removed customs taxes on 125 other intermediate products that aren't produced domestically.
In the coming years, “Green Deal” policies for tackling the climate crisis will be the new contentious area between the EU and Turkey, replacing the traditional rupture point of human rights. It is not that Turkey will turn into a human rights bastion, but in its international relations, the EU has already backpedaled on prioritizing human rights.