Turkey and EU

As the Turkish government renews its interest in enhancing its relations with the EU, European Movement International compares articles from Germany, Greece, Spain and France on the latest developments between Brussels and Ankara. (According to Vote Leave, remember, Turkey and its 80m citizens should have joined by now….)

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A View from Germany

New year, new friends
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reports how Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has suddenly changed his tone vis-à-vis the EU and its Member States, recently telling EU ambassadors in Ankara that Turkey supports a “positive agenda” for EU-Turkey relations. During the last European Council summit in December, EU leaders imposed sanctions on Turkey as a result of the country’s search for gas in disputed waters. FAZ suggests that the looming power shift in the US and the severe economic and health crises Turkey is facing are the reason why Erdogan hopes to mend his relationships with the EU. Already in November, Turkey had announced economic, justice and human rights reforms. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu is expected to travel to Brussels next Thursday to meet with his EU counterpart. Moreover, Turkish and EU leaders are expected to meet in the coming weeks to discuss the renewal of the refugee agreement from March 2016. Read the full article

A View from Greece

Match made in Ankara
Ekathimerini writes about the comments made by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu after a meeting with EU ambassadors this week. According to the Minister, Turkey is committed to reforms and hopes to restart stalled EU membership negotiations. Moreover, Çavusoglu stated the importance of Turkey’s ties with the EU, that Turkey was part of Europe and that Europe was part of Turkey’s destiny. Çavusoglu also highlighted Turkey’s openness for dialogue by saying that a solution will not be found with “threatening rhetoric”, hinting at the EU summit in December when sanctions were adopted against Turkey. Talks between Turkey and Greece are to be resumed later on this month. Read the full article

A View from Spain

Talking Turkey 
La Vanguardia writes about the EU’s ties with Turkey as well as the bilateral relationship between Madrid and Ankara. Last week Friday, both the Spanish and Turkish government agreed on the importance of maintaining good relationships, based on sincere dialogue. In a bilateral meeting, the Foreign Ministers of Spain and Turkey reviewed key priorities for their countries and discussed issues such as tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, the management of Europe-bound migrants and refugees, and the EU’s recent threat of imposing new sanctions on Turkey. While the European Council had decided to postpone the  decision until March, Çavusoglu says that Turkey is not worried about sanctions and would rather focus on establishing dialogue and shared responsibilities with the EU. Turkey has, moreover, shown itself willing to team up with the EU to tackle conflicts and struggles in Libya, Syria and the Middle East.
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A View from France

Making amends
Le Point reports discusses the latest developments in the relationship between EU and Turkey, and President Erdogan’s recently announced intentions to get the EU-Turkey relationship “back on track”, in the hope that “European friends will show the same will.” His statements to EU ambassadors in Ankara came a day after the announcement that talks would resume between Turkey and Greece on the issue of the eastern Mediterranean. “We believe that these discussions with Greece can usher in a new era,” Erdogan said. Back in December, the EU decided on sanctions on a number of Turkish officials and entities for the country’s illegal gas drilling in waters off the coast of Greece and Cyprus. Although Turkey’s gas explorations in disputed maritime areas have raised tensions over the past few months, the Turkish government has been increasingly calling for dialogue with the EU in order to make 2021 a successful year for EU-Turkey relations.
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