During today’s briefing, the European Commission Information Service and representative Peter Stano confirmed there will be a meeting next week on 21 January 2021 between High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevl Cavusoglu in Brussels.
According to Stano, the discussion will revolve around how these positive signs and the expressed will could be embodied in specific actions. “We have been expecting this from the Turkish side for months now. In other words, to see concrete actions that will lead to the de-escalation of the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, but also in the EU-Turkey relations. This will lead to a return to a climate of dialogue and cooperation and a mutually beneficial and constructive commitment without challenging individual EU Member States.”
Regarding recent and conciliatory statements by Turkey in particular, Stano noted that “it is positive to hear these intentions but, as the High Representative said last September, although we welcome the positive announcements concerning Turkey’s relations with Europe and ideas on how the country wants to renew cooperation with the EU, it nonetheless remains very important to see these statements and intentions being transformed into concrete actions. These actions include de-escalation, the avoidance of unilateral actions that cause discomfort in our Member States, and we hope that the teleconference with the Turkish President last weekend and the visit of the Turkish Foreign Minister next week will be actions in this direction.”
To a question on how the EU assesses Turkey’s change of course from an aggressive, divisive and provocative stance for a number of months to reconciliation lately, whether it considers this to be related to the problems facing the Turkish economy or the election of a new, less conciliatory US President, and secondly whether the EU expects concrete actions from Turkey which could include the resumption of dialogue between Athens and Ankara, Peter Stano replied that “I would not like to analyze the situation, because what matters are the developments. The EU’s position on this issue has been expressed on many occasions. I think it is clear that we expect constructive action and a productive attitude from Turkey, as well as de-escalation. These are very important to us. It is in the interest of both sides to have positive and constructive relations, because only in an environment of constructive cooperation and dialogue will our relations be able to move forward and benefit the citizens of both the EU and Turkey. We are neighbors and partners in many fields. This is the only way to have a “win-win” relationship. The EU’s position is therefore clear. It is certainly promising to hear these positive statements, but on the other hand it is very important – in the context of our analysis of the future of our relations with Turkey – that concrete actions ensue, efforts to de-escalate the situation and efforts to create conditions for constructive dialogue with both the EU and every EU member state. This is very important.”
Regarding the resumption of the exploratory dialogue between Athens and Ankara, the representative recalled that the EU has called for the resumption of dialogue between the two countries. “This is an essential element in improving relations between the EU and Turkey because, as we have also emphasized many times, it is important that all bilateral issues, all bilateral disputes are disputed within an appropriate framework, which is dialogue. We welcome the announcement of the start of negotiations and look forward to a constructive discussion with concrete results,” Peter Stano concluded. /ibna