Turkiye must soften tone to avoid isolation: European envoy

December 07, 2023

ISTANBUL: Turkiye has become internationally isolated and must dial down its rhetoric if it wants to win key concessions from the European Union, a top European official said on Wednesday in Istanbul.

Nacho Sanchez Amor, the European Parliament´s rapporteur on Turkiye, said Ankara´s abrasive talk on foreign affairs was one of the main impediments to improving relations with Brussels. Turkiye is seeking to simplify European visa access for its citizens and to update a 1995 customs agreement with the bloc that could help boost exports.

European Parliament's human rights envoy and rapporteur on Turkey delivers remarks during a press conference in Istanbul, on December 6, 2023. — AFP

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell last week recommended offering Turkiye both in return for a series of concessions. These included Turkiye clamping down on Russian sanctions evasion and progress on the issue of the divided island of Cyprus.

Sanchez Amor added another condition on the last day of a fact-finding mission to Turkiye that included meetings with opposition groups. “To refrain from using an aggressive tone, a threatening tone, is free and easy,” he told reporters in Istanbul. “You are completely isolated. The only real friend you have is Azerbaijan,” Sanchez Amor said.