Commission silent over Turkey’s hopes from Russian food ban
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.