European Union foreign ministers agreed on Thursday that the bloc should re-engage with Turkey, but set some conditions and did not endorse Ankara’s calls to revive its moribund membership bid.
Turkey has been an official candidate to join the EU for 24 years, but accession talks have stalled since 2016 over the bloc’s concerns about human rights violations and respect for the rule of law.
But on July 10, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, in an unexpected move, called for a re-opening of Ankara’s accession talks, linking the idea to Turkey’s approval of Sweden’s bid to join the NATO military alliance.
“We discussed how to re-engage with Turkey,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a press conference after a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers in Brussels.
“We are convinced there is a reciprocal interest to develop a stronger relationship between Turkey and the European Union.”
But he noted the EU wanted Turkey to show movement too, especially on the issue of EU member Cyprus, the northern part of which was invaded by Turkey in 1974 and has since been under occupation.
“Solving the Cyprus issue in line with the relevant United Nations resolutions will be key in this re-engagement with Turkey,” Borrell said.
“Also, upholding fundamental freedoms and values as defined by the European Convention of Human Rights, of which Ankara is part of, will be essential.”
Ankara expects concrete progress from the EU on issues such as visa-free travel, as well as closing some chapters in the EU accession process, a senior Turkish official told Reuters earlier this month, adding that the West needed to support Turkey in its financial needs.
Source : Ekathimerini