US News EU: Turkey at the center of debates at the first physical meeting of the 27

23:15  13 july  2020
23:15  13 july  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

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The 27 EU foreign ministers held their first physical meeting in Brussels on Monday, July 13, from the coronavirus. Their debates focused on Turkey, with which incidents are multiplying and complicating relations which have not been at all good at all since the coming to power of the AKP of Reçep Tayyip Erdoğan.

With our correspondent in Brussels, Pierre Benazet

For their first physical meeting since the Covid-19 crisis, the Twenty-Seven talked about Hong Kong, the virus and Latin America. But they mainly focused on Turkey. And it is ultimately on the conversion of Hagia Sophia into an mosque that the Europeans are most firm. They go against all odds to condemn Reçep Tayyip Erdoğan's decision and ask him to renounce it.

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This conversion for the second time in the history of the Istanbul building will “feed distrust”, “promote new divisions between religious communities” and “undermine the efforts of dialogue”, predict the Twenty-Seven. The Luxembourg Foreign Minister goes so far as to believe that this decision is an attack on civilization and marks the end of the rapprochement with the EU.

This is in fact the only subject for which the 27 punch the table. For the rest, they repeat that Turkish gas drilling in Cypriot waters is contrary to the interests of the European Union and international law, they ask Turkey to stop engaging in the blackmail of migration which has seen thousands of migrants pushed by Turkey to head to Europe in early March. They also ask him to respect the arms embargo on Libya, but we are far from being condemned on this point.

The 27 evoke a dynamic of confrontation, but their conclusion is nonetheless mixed: it is necessary to improve and strengthen relations with Turkey.

Algiers is preparing a law to protect health personnel from attack .
© RYAD KRAMDI / AFP Algerian paramedics wearing protective gear in front of the special unit of El-Kettar hospital to treat cases of new coronavirus in the capital Algiers on February 26, 2020. Algeria is preparing a law to better protect health personnel from "verbal and physical assaults", which have increased with the Covid-19 pandemic, said the government in a statement.

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