Ursula von der Leyen – EU, Turkey cautiously eye improved ties after powerful 2020
BRUSSELS/ANKARA (Reuters) – The European Union and Turkey pressed one another on Thursday to take concrete steps to enhance relations lengthy strained by disagreements over vitality, migration and Ankara’s human rights document.
Turkey, which stays an official candidate for EU membership regardless of the tensions, is going through the specter of EU financial sanctions over a hydrocarbons dispute with Greece within the japanese Mediterranean, however the temper music between Brussels and Ankara has improved for the reason that new 12 months.
“We have seen an improvement in the overall atmosphere,” EU overseas coverage chief Josep Borrell stated as he welcomed Turkish International Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu for talks, describing 2020 as sophisticated.
“Intentions and announcements need to be translated into actions,” Borrell stated.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who will meet Cavusoglu on Friday, additionally famous “a more positive atmosphere”, telling reporters by video convention there was “an opportunity to really make some progress to address the differences”.
The improved tone follows a video convention between Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and the top of the European Fee, Ursula von der Leyen, on Jan. 9 through which each confused the significance of the bilateral relationship.
Cavusoglu stated he hoped von der Leyen and Charles Michel, the top of the European Council which represents the 27 EU member states, would go to Turkey after an invite from Erdogan.
“It is of course important for there to be a positive atmosphere in Turkey-EU ties, but in order for this to be sustainable, we must take concrete steps,” Cavusoglu added.
2020 proved significantly tough for relations between Turkey and the EU, particularly France, with Erdogan expressing publicly his hope that protests in French cities would topple President Emmanuel Macron.
Greece and Cyprus, strongly backed by France, wish to punish Turkey for what they see as provocative oil and fuel exploration by Turkish vessels in disputed waters, however Germany and Italy are reluctant to go forward with any sanctions on Ankara.
Turkey has now withdrawn the vessels and is about to restart talks with Greece, though the EU has accused Ankara of taking part in “cat and mouse” in a sample of provocation and reconciliation.
EU leaders will determine in March whether or not to impose sanctions.
Brussels additionally accuses Erdogan of undermining the economic system, eroding democracy and destroying unbiased courts and media, leaving Turkey’s bid to affix the EU additional away than ever.
“We remain concerned about the (human rights) situation in Turkey,” Borrell stated on Thursday.
The European Parliament on Thursday backed a decision calling for the discharge of Selahattin Demirtas, a number one Kurdish politician jailed in 2016 on terrorism-related fees.
However Turkey stays an enormous vacation spot for EU commerce and funding and likewise hosts some four million Syrian refugees. The EU goals to agree recent funds for the refugees from 2022 to discourage them from coming into the bloc.
Ankara needs progress on Turks’ proper to visa-free journey to the EU, an improve of its commerce settlement with Europe and recognition of its claims to hydrocarbons off its maritime shelf.
Writing by Robin Emmott; Modifying by Gareth Jones