FM Çavuşoğlu criticizes EU for failing to fulfill pledges
by Daily Sabah with AA
ISTANBULJan 23, 2020 - 11:27 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah with AA
Jan 23, 2020 11:27 am
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu criticized the European Union for failing to pay the 6 billion euros ($6.65 billion) it had promised Ankara as part of a deal to stem the flow of refugees following the Syrian crisis.
Çavuşoğlu was speaking to the German daily Bild, commenting on Turkey's relations with the EU and its moves in Syria and Libya.
He said the EU did not completely fulfill its promises as part of a 2015 agreement where both sides reached a deal on the refugee crisis and said the union has not even paid the initial 3 billion euros, which should have been delivered by the end of 2016.
Turkey's top diplomat said German Chancellor Angela Merkel played a significant role in the signing of the refugee deal, and this triggered jealousy among some EU member countries.
Hailing Germany for being supportive and courageous in the sense of supporting the refugee deal, Çavuşoğlu said the agreement significantly reduced the number of people illegally crossing into Europe.
"Before striking the deal, up to 7,000 refugees left Turkey for Greece on a daily basis," he said, adding around 57 refugees per day have crossed over to Greek islands since the deal was signed.
He went on to say that some central and eastern European countries did not want to embrace refugees and put Germany in a tough spot.
However, the promises in the customs union and discussions on Turkey's ascension to the EU were also not fulfilled, according to Çavuşoğlu.
He said although promises were not fulfilled, Turkey remains committed to maintaining the migration agreement with the EU.
Referring to some 3.5 million Turks living in Germany, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey viewed these people as a bridge connecting both countries, and Ankara supported the integration of Turks into the German community.
On the other hand, he expressed discomfort over supporters of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and PKK terror group taking shelter in Germany and said senior members of the former sought asylum there; whereas the latter collected money to finance terrorism.
FETÖ, which disguised itself as a religious movement for a long time before it launched its first bid to seize power through a coup attempt in 2013 in Turkey, is still viewed as such a movement in Germany. Although anti-Islamic circles in the European country criticize them in this aspect, it is apparently embraced by the German government, which has been accused of turning a blind eye to FETÖ in the past by Ankara. Bruno Kahl, head of Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND), had even described it as a "civil organization" in a 2017 statement.
The Turkish diplomat welcomed the German initiative to host the Berlin conference, where a cease-fire in war-weary Libya was discussed in an effort to bring peace there. Forces of the U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and those linked to renegade commander Khalifa Haftar are battling for control of key terrain and critical infrastructure.
Çavuşoğlu noted that the GNA said it would adhere to the joint declaration issued following the meeting whereas Haftar's side did not provide a positive or negative response.
When asked what Turkey's interest in Libya was, Çavuşoğlu said peace and stability were the main motivations for the Ankara administration, adding it had reached a security agreement with the U.N.-recognized government as well. He noted that Turkey deployed a limited number of military advisors to Tripoli.
As the Syrian regime and its allies continue their aggression in the northwestern city of Idlib, hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing their homes and taking shelter near the Turkish border.
Çavuşoğlu, for his part, said Syria's Bashar Assad regime preferred a military solution over a political one whereas Turkey believed in the importance of political negotiations to resolve the conflict.
Recalling German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer's statements regarding the establishment of an international safe zone in Syria, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey did not raise any objections to this suggestion but pointed to the challenges.
He noted that some 372,000 Syrians had returned home following Turkey's anti-terror operations in northern Syria against the YPG terror group, which is the Syrian branch of the PKK terror group in Turkey.
According to Çavuşoğlu, Turkey hosts 3.6 million displaced Syrians, and some 350,000 of them are of Kurdish origin.
"Have you ever asked yourself why these Kurds do not want to return to the area controlled by the YPG terror group? The West has double standards in this context," he said.
Çavuşoğlu noted that the YPG terror group changed the demographic structure in Syria, while Turkey only fought terrorist organizations attempting to split the country.