Tensions between Turkey and the European Union escalated, especially after the President Erdogan declared that Emanuel Macron should examine his mental state, Euronews reports. The Turk accused the French of insulting Islam and called for a boycott of French goods. Other countries, primarily Greece, have expressed dissatisfaction with Turkey's actions in the Eastern Mediterranean.
No response has yet been got, but Brussels has threatened to exert economic leverages against Ankara.
Today, the EU is the primary importer of Turkish products (32.3% of total turnover), the main exporter (42.4%), and the main source of investment. The main exporters to Turkey are Germany (21 billion euros), Italy (8 billion euros) and the Netherlands (6 billion euros).
The leader of the European People's Party, the largest fraction in the European Parliament, said that despite the national interest in maintaining cooperation, the Union should speak with Erdogan in a unified voice.
"It is not a Greek problem, it is not a Cyprus problem, it is not a French problem, it is a problem to be solved at the European level. We must respond collectively to these attacks against the European Union. If President Erdogan now prohibits the flow of French goods to Turkey, he must understand that all this is happening within the customs union. The Council of Europe should consider changing and reorganizing the current customs union", Manfred Weber said.
However, different EU member states have different interests with Turkey in trade, investment, banking and arms supplies.
According to the most recent data, the largest arms exporters from the EU to Turkey are France, Spain, Italy and Germany, although since October 2019 France has imposed a partial embargo on Turkey due to its involvement in terrorism in Syria.
Turkey, on the other hand, is of strategic importance for a number of reasons, such as the need to stop the flow of migrants, so the dialogue with the country should remain open in any case.
"It's not hard to understand that Erdogan is playing with us", the German MP continued, adding: "We must exert our economic power. The European Union is much more important for Turkey than Turkey is for us".
The leaders of the European Union have repeatedly tried speaking kindly to the Turkish president, but he did not show good will. So it is up to Brussels to choose to impose sanctions on Ankara. And even the deadline for such events, December, now seems far away for some European leaders.