The July 15, 2016 coup attempt inflamed a transformation that not only affected the country’s domestic politics but foreign policies as well.
Less than a month and a half after the deadly coup attempt, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) launched Operation Euphrates Shield and entered Syria to eliminate the Daesh threat on its border. It was followed by two more, namely Operation Peace Spring and Operation Olive Branch that successfully parried the PKK/YPG threat near Turkey's borders.
After securing its border with Syria, Turkey signed a maritime jurisdiction agreement with Libya, and with the consent of the U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), it sent troops to the North African country. Eventually, forces loyal to the putschist Gen. Khalifa Hafter – supported by France, Greece, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – were defeated.
Although some states, led by France, pressured the EU to isolate Turkey, their attempt fell short of convincing other European countries, Germany and Spain in particular.
At present, the EU has completely shut the door on Turkey's accession to the bloc and has instead offered only a "conditional partnership."
The conditions they present seem too maximalist and unreconciliable, as long as they demand Turkey to give up its struggle for survival in the Eastern Mediterranean. Regardless, EU politicians and media constantly heighten tensions in every possible way.
Recently, several images taken during the EU policy chiefs' official visit to the capital Ankara have made the headlines. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s seating on a chair beside European Council President Charles Michel, while European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is seated on a sofa opposite Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu was portrayed as a major crisis.
According to the protocol, however, there is no misbehavior in this case. The European Council president is the EU’s top executive, while the European Commission president comes forth in the protocol.
Moreover, according to statements made by Ankara, the protocol arrangements were confirmed by both parties. In other words, Michel did not arrange a separate seat for von der Leyen.
However, the European media distorted the issue by depicting Erdoğan as a misogynist and disgraceful to the EU with a flood of ridiculous “analyses.”
To be fair, Turkey-EU relations do not need such artificial crises, they are already in enough trouble over several other conjunctures.