While the EU is promoting the ninth round of sanctions against Russia, the head of EU foreign policy recently expressed “concern” about the close relationship between Türkiye and Russia, and called on Türkiye to join the sanctions against Russia. This speech angered Türkiye’s President RecepTayyip Erdogan, who responded on the 15th that EU politicians have no right to interfere in Turkish Russian relations.
According to the West German Report of Germany on December 11, in a letter to the European Parliament, EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Borrell said that Türkiye’s refusal to join the EU’s sanctions against Russia is increasingly “worrying”. He also warned that the deepening of bilateral economic relations between Russia and Turkey is also a “worrying issue”.
Borrell urged Türkiye to comply with the sanctions imposed by the EU on Moscow and not provide Russia with a “temporary solution” to circumvent the sanctions.
But this statement made Türkiye’s President RecepTayyip Erdogan extremely dissatisfied. The Anadolu News Agency of Türkiye reported on the 15th that Erdogan lashed out at Borrell when answering questions from the media that day, stressing that he had no right to “dictate” the relationship between Turkey and Russia.
“I don’t think Borrelli can shout at me, and his level can only talk to the Foreign Minister, Mr. Chavushiolu.” Erdogan said, “In other words, Borrelli cannot define or adjust our relationship with Russia. He has neither the qualifications nor the ability to make such a decision. His remarks are offensive.”
Erdogan emphasized that the relationship between Türkiye and Russia cannot be evaluated only within the scope of sanctions. He criticized that even after Ankara also made many efforts to implement the Russia-Ukraine food agreement, Borrell told Türkiye: At present, 44% of Europe’s food comes from where? They come from the Black Sea. Who is the mediator? Turkiye. Do you thank us? No.”
Türkiye has always been neutral to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, unwilling to join the Western countries’ sanctions against Russia, and tries to “resolve the crisis” as a “mediator”. According to Reuters, Erdogan held phone conversations with leaders of Russia and Ukraine on the 11th to discuss issues such as further expanding the Black Sea food export agreement.
As Borrell tried to “woo” Türkiye, the EU approved the ninth round of sanctions against Russia at the winter summit that ended on the 15th. According to the process, the plan will be officially confirmed through a “written procedure” on the 16th local time and announced.
Euronews reported that the ninth round of sanctions may impose an asset freeze and travel ban on nearly 200 Russian individuals or entities, including government ministers, parliamentarians, local officials, political parties and armed forces. The EU also plans to impose more sanctions on Russia’s defense industry and banks, and impose stricter export controls on equipment such as chemicals, electronic products, and drone components.
Regarding the EU’s decision, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zaharova stated at a news conference on the 15th that no matter what new measures the EU takes, Russia will respond quickly, “Russia will respond to any unfriendly attacks.”