Today, the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) including the delegates from the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) and European Parliament will gather for the first ordinary meeting of this term in Brussels. The JPC is established on the basis of contributing to the relations between Turkey and the EU and Turkey's accession process – however the committee is far from achieving its objective. From the side of the JPC's EU wing, the committee acts as a commission that focuses on slowing down EU-Turkey relations and the membership process and even impede accession talks if possible. I believe our friends in Brussels are the only ones who are responsible for this picture. The recently elected political groups in the EU Parliament presumably were not attentive when selecting the JPC members, or they paid "particular attention" to create a group with the same intention. Unlike the discourse of previous JPC committees and members on Turkey, the current committee makes us question whether the mission of the JPC has changed or not. This is because the co-chair and the vice presidents of the JPC, who are deputies from Greece and Greek Cyprus, also push me to ask whether specific committee members were intentionally elected. The JPC's EU wing is mainly composed of deputies from Greek Cyprus and Greece, who presently hold six seats, two of which were previously proposed for deputies from Turkish Cyprus.
During the preliminary meeting held on Thursday last week, it was apparent that the above mentioned deputies are merely dealing with one issue – criticizing Turkey no matter if they are right or wrong. What a pity. However, it could be a real "joint parliamentary commission" that takes an active and productive role on issues related to Turkey's accession process. As a former EU Parliament deputy and JPC vice president, I think the current situation is very pathetic. The main problem in the JPC is that the Greek Cypriot and Greek deputies are somewhat supported by their own political groups by holding a term during which anti-Turkey discourse has reached its peak. It would be wise for the presidents of the EU parliament groups, which represent different political parties and views, and Martin Schulz, the president of the EU Parliament, to find a solution to this issue as soon as possible.
These days, the EU needs the full support of Turkey to create a strong collaborative effort to fight terrorism. This is because the EU Parliament does not have the luxury to produce "artificial" crises or problems with Turkey. This week, the EU Parliament is preparing to adopt a decision on Turkey, which was not included on the agenda of the last EU Summit and is unilateral and unfair if carefully examined, following the initiatives by President Nicos Anastasiades of Greek Cyprus and his team. Indeed, Anastasiades does not show any effort and has not contributed to the resolution of the dispute on Cyprus, and has instead disappointed Turkey's expectations of him.
The EU Parliament will strictly criticize Turkey for its seismic explorations off the Coast of Greek Cyprus, which is situated in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). However, EU Parliament deputies have not examined this issue in depth and have not even considered Turkey's opinion. The joint decision will presumably be adopted with the support of all political groups in parliament. It is said that if so-called "provocative" explorations continue, it will negatively influence EU-Turkey relations.
Unfortunately, some EU Parliament deputies are greatly damaging EU-Turkey relations by warning Turkey through unilateral notifications and even threaten EU relations. Turkey is a strong country that does not give ground to threats, blackmail and the infamously Byzantine political game. Considering the Cyprus dispute, Turkey is also the country that makes the most productive efforts. It will not help solve either the Cyprus dispute or the end of terrorism, which is our most urgent problem, by ignoring the fact that Turkish Cypriots should also have a right to Greek Cyprus's natural resources, that Turkey also has rights to the Eastern Mediterranean similar to Israel and Egypt or adopting decisions in favor of Greek Cyprus. The parliament's attitude will not even allow them to properly examine the natural resources in the Southern Mediterranean, which is also important for the EU. Instead, it will bring damage. As mentioned by our friends in the EU who are well-aware of this issue, if Greek Cyprus wants, the current conditions are very feasible to resolve the Cyprus dispute. Turkey is making every effort to find a "fair" resolution. Turkish Cypriots are also determined to reach a "fair" decision despite their disappointment in the EU. It is such an unfortunate situation that the EU Parliament has formed the current JPC in such a way and the anti-Turkey decision that has been prepared in line with the demands of Greek deputies, will not contribute to resolving the dispute and will pave the way for unfavorable missions. We wish the majority of the EU Parliament will realize this mistake even if in the last minute and reject the decision that will not bring any positive impact. Bear in mind, similar decisions have been adopted many times before, but have never been useful.