In the wake of the incendiary rhetoric aimed at Europe, and France in particular, by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ankara’s stance toward Greece and Cyprus, calls in Germany for sanctions against Turkey, even an embargo on arms sales, are getting louder.
This view was apparent in comments to Kathimerini by four Germans – three politicians from across the political spectrum and one journalist: Manfred Weber, head of the European People’s Party, Markus Tressel, Bundestag member of Alliance 90/The Greens, Sevim Dagdelen, MP for left-wing Die Linke, who is of Kurdish origin, and Gerd Höhler, correspondent for Handelsblatt.
Referring to Turkey’s threats to Greece and Cyprus, Weber contends that “when Europe is threatened, you have to state clearly which side you are on…. Given Turkey’s aggression against Europe, the debate may begin [for an arms embargo].”
Tressel, who is deputy chairman of the Greek-German Parliamentary Friendship Group, said Ankara has turned the show of military force into a tool of politics, so Europe could respond “with the language that Turkey seems to understand better than that of the negotiations,” by undermining its military might.
For her part, Dagdelen, insists sanctions against Turkey are a one-way street, stressing that “it is utterly hypocritical for the federal government, on the one hand, to express solidarity with Greece and Cyprus and, at the same time, to continue supplying arms to Turkey.”
Höhler said an arms embargo “would be an important message to Turkey, but I doubt we will get there.“
“The customs union should also be reconsidered, but economic interests are opposed to that, mainly from the German side,” he said, noting the problem is not just Erdogan, but Turkey’s increasingly aggressive stance as a whole.