Turkey is pushing ahead with its re-approach to the European Union and wants to cooperate with EU security and defence policy in future, according to the Welt am Sonntag newspaper in Germany.
According to the report, Ankara is offering to formally participate in a project worth billions of euros within the framework of the EU “Permanent Structured Cooperation” (Pesco) initiative, which serves to improve the transport of troops in Europe. A written request to this effect from the Turkish government was received by the Dutch Ministry of Defence just over a week ago.
“President Erdoğan is pushing for quick decisions. He knows: Merkel, his most important ally in the EU, will soon no longer be there,” wrote Welt am Sonntag.
The government in The Hague coordinates the Pesco, in which a total of 24 EU states are cooperating, to improve military mobility.
Only ten days ago, at their meeting in Brussels, the EU defence ministers decided that the USA, Canada and Norway could be the first “non-member states” to participate in the Pesco project to improve military transport within Europe.
“We hope that Turkey’s possible participation in Pesco will not only improve cooperation between the EU and NATO, but can also lead to a normalisation of relations between Turkey and Cyprus and Greece,” diplomatic sources told Welt am Sontagg.
The most important reasons cited in EU circles for Ankara’s request are the recently agreed cooperation of the US in the EU’s defence policy and the intended improvement in cooperation between the EU and Turkey.
Reactions to Ankara’s request from Cyprus and Greece, which both have extremely tense relations with Turkey, are eagerly anticipated.