Com­mis­sion silent over Turkey’s hopes from Rus­sian food ban

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

At least pub­licly, the Com­mis­sion has kept silent over Turkey’s state­ments that it should profit from the Rus­sian em­bargo on im­ported Western food, ac­cord­ing to EurAc­tiv Greece.

As an EU can­di­date coun­try, Turkey is ex­pected to align with EU for­eign pol­icy, es­pe­cially in the cases of re­stric­tive mea­sures im­posed on third coun­tries In the case of Ser­bia, also a can­di­date coun­try, Brussels praised the gov­ern­ment for its choice not to eco­nom­i­cally ex­ploit the Rus­sian em­bargo on EU food im­ports. In con­trast, it avoided giv­ing a “clear” an­swer re­gard­ing a con­tro­ver­sial re­ac­tion of Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties.

Turkey’s fi­nance min­is­ter Ni­hat Zey­bekci said that the on­go­ing cri­sis be­tween Rus­sia and the West was an “op­por­tu­nity” for Ankara. The state­ment an­gered Athens, which ac­cused Turkey of ex­ploit­ing the Rus­sian em­bargo on EU food im­ports.

Speak­ing to jour­nal­ists in Bel­grade, Ser­bian PM Alek­san­dar Vu­cic con­firmed that his gov­ern­ment had re­ceived an of­fi­cial warn­ing call­ing on Ser­bia to re­frain from boost­ing ex­ports to Rus­sia, as a mat­ter of sol­i­dar­ity with the bloc. He added that his gov­ern­ment had no in­ten­tion of en­cour­ag­ing ex­ports to Rus­sia, after Brussels urged the EU hope­ful not to ex­ploit the Krem­lin’s ban on Western food im­ports.

EurAc­tiv Greece con­tacted the DG En­large­ment of the EU ex­ec­u­tive, ask­ing if the EU had sent a sim­i­lar of­fi­cial warn­ing to Turkey, and if yes, what was the re­ac­tion by Ankara.

The re­ply of Peter Stano, spokesman of EU en­large­ment com­mis­sioner Ste­fan Fule, in­di­cates that the EU ex­ec­u­tive is try­ing to avoid com­ment­ing on the Turk­ish re­ac­tion.

Stano men­tioned the con­clu­sions on Ukraine of EU for­eign min­is­ters’ coun­cil on 15 Au­gust, and more pre­cisely the para­graph 11, where EU can­di­date coun­tries were urged not to take ad­van­tage of the Rus­sian em­bargo at the ex­pense of the EU coun­tries.

He also clar­i­fied that there was no “let­ter” sent by the EU par­tic­u­larly to the Ser­bian au­thor­i­ties, but the con­clu­sions were com­mu­ni­cated to all coun­tries con­cerned “via stan­dard diplo­matic chan­nels”.

But Stano’s an­swer about the Turk­ish re­ac­tion was less clear. “We do not see any need to elab­o­rate pub­licly on the ways how and what we com­mu­ni­cate via diplo­matic chan­nels with our part­ner coun­tries and how they re­act to this com­mu­ni­ca­tion, since this is the na­ture of diplo­macy that it is not con­ducted via me­dia”, he stated.

It re­mains un­clear what Ankara’s stance will be and if it will fi­nally go ahead with its prom­ise to eco­nom­i­cally ex­ploit the dead­lock of West-Rus­sia re­la­tions.

Even more un­cer­tain is the Euro­pean re­ac­tion to­ward such a de­vel­op­ment, which ap­par­ently takes into con­sid­er­a­tion the frag­ile po­lit­i­cal at­mos­phere in the EU hope­ful fol­low­ing the re­cent pres­i­den­tial elec­tions.

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