Israeli defense minister urges EU to take tougher stance against Turkey

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 30.11.2016 00:00
Updated 30.11.2016 13:28
emReuters File Photo/em
Reuters File Photo

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has reportedly urged the European Union to adopt a 'tougher stance' against Turkey and to learn from Russian President Vladimir Putin on 'how to deal with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,' the Haaretz daily reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, which was based on unnamed European diplomatic sources, Lieberman told European foreign and defense ministers that they should follow Putin's example and put pressure on President Erdoğan.

Relations between Turkey and Russia were strained after a Russian jet was downed by Turkey over violation of airspace in Nov. 2015.

Russia imposed sanctions on Turkey following the incident, which was resolved when President Erdoğan expressed regret for the downing of the Russian jet to Vladimir Putin back in June.

"You have so many ways to pressure Erdoğan," Haaretz quoted Lieberman as saying and noted that the minister's office declined to reply to questions about the article.

Tensions between Turkey and Europe mounted as a result of a series of issues, including Europe's indifference to terrorist organizations threatening Turkey, as well as the brutal coup attempt which killed 248 people on July 15.

The European Parliament adopted a temporary motion last Thursday, urging member-states to freeze Turkey's accession to the bloc.

The EU and Turkey signed a refugee deal on March 18, which aimed to discourage irregular migrations through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of nearly three million Syrian refugees in Turkey, in return for 3 billion euros of aid to be given to Turkey and visa liberalization for Turkish citizens.

Less than 1 billion euros of the promised aid has been given to Turkey, while visa liberalization has still not been granted to Turkish citizens.

Although Turkey has fulfilled most of the criteria, differences between Brussels and Ankara on anti-terror legislation have forestalled the visa-liberalization deal.

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