The next European Council will look at Turkey and could force it “much more” because of its “inadmissible” behavior in Nagorno-Karabakh, French Minister for Foreign Trade Franck Riester warned on Saturday.
Asked about France Inter, Mr. Riester castigated Ankara’s attitude around calls to boycott French products in certain Muslim countries against a background of controversy concerning the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
“Turkey plays a condemnable role in terms of instrumentalization of the speech of the President of the Republic or of the positions of France, in order to harm France and harm the values that France carries”, he ruled.
He recalled Paris’ other grievances towards Ankara: “We want Turkey to change, we want this behavior to change, this expansionist behavior in the eastern Mediterranean with these drilling that undermines Cypriot and Greek sovereignty.”
Mr. Riester also called on Turkey to “stop this behavior, especially in North Africa with a certain number of arms trafficking” and he also asked that Turkey “stop using the migration issue in relation to Europe; we know they are playing on that string and that is no longer possible ”.
“Turkey is a great people, a great country with which we want to have diplomatic and economic relations, but with which we must have a discourse of truth, because we cannot continue like that”, he said. he says.
“It is a speech that Europe is carrying, and not just France, and this is the reason why once again at the next European Council, this Turkish question will be addressed to see how we perhaps force a little more, even much more Turkey because its behavior, in particular in the crisis of Nagorno-Karabakh, is inadmissible ”, he added.
After a series of disputes, the European Union condemned the “totally unacceptable” provocations by Ankara at the end of October, but it postponed any decision on possible sanctions to its December summit.
On the Nagorno Karabakh issue, Azerbaijan and Armenia last week signed a Russian-sponsored agreement that ended weeks of deadly clashes in the breakaway region of Armenian-majority Azerbaijan.
France has since called on Russia to remove the “ambiguities” surrounding this cease-fire, in particular as regards the role of Turkey, which has armed and supported Azerbaijan, and whose influence is growing in the region.