ArmInfo.The soft line of Europe towards Turkey is explained by the presence in Turkey's territory of 3.5 million refugees from the countries of the Middle East. Brussels also pays Ankara millions of euros for the maintenance of these people, Ruben Safrastyan, Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, expressed such an opinion to ArmInfo.
"It is the refugees who are the significant, geopolitical, decisive factor in Brussels' relations with Ankara. In this light, the EU refrains from using the entire sanctions arsenal at its disposal against Turkey. Moreover, the Europeans are negotiating with the country that occupies the third of Cyprus, the EU member state. A country that has deployed a 40,000 army in the EU territory. This is an unprecedentedly soft approach, "he stressed.
Moreover, according to Safrastyan, many European countries still consider Turkey as a future member of the European Union. It also prevents Brussels from open pressure on Ankara. Nevertheless, according to him, the European Union gradually, but consistently, tightens its position on Ankara. According to the estimates of the turkologist, at this stage, Europe has already begun to show greater determination towards Ankara, which may result in a sanctions regime. Such changes, in his opinion, are due to Turkey's desire to extract economic benefits from the occupied territories of the EU. Safrastyan, in particular, believes that this fact is viewed by Brussels as pasing all bounds. On July 16, the EU Council, in response to the drilling that Turkey is conducting in the waters of Cyprus, imposed the first sanctions. The high-level dialogue was suspended, the meeting of the Turkey-EU Association Council was canceled, and assistance for 2020 was reduced. Brussels also urged the European Investment Bank to reconsider decisions on loans to Turkey and instructed to continue work on the options for sanctions. The Foreign Ministry of Turkey responded to this decision with a statement of intent to resolutely continue work on drilling in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. In the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus, where gas fields are found, there are two Turkish drilling rigs - "Fatih" and "Yavuz". Greece and Cyprus consider this a provocation. In fact, Turkey's actions directly hit the EU's energy security.