In the next few hours, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will be briefed by Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borissov on the talks in Varna, as the latter announced during a press conference following a working dinner at the EU-Turkey leaders meeting (Varna meeting).
The Bulgarian Prime Minister will inform his Greek counterpart on the issues of Greek interest that were discussed between Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Donald Tusk, Jean Claude Juncker and himself, namely the detention of the two Greek soldiers, the tension in the Aegean Sea and in the Cypriot EEZ, as well as the refugee crisis.
The EU-Turkey Summit held in Evksinograd residence in Varna, Bulgaria, on 26 March, despite the fact that in the past days there was a serious tension between the two sides, eventually the agreement on betterment of ties between the EU and Turkey ended positively, “leaving bad relations behind them”, as Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed at the presser.
The press conference clearly highlighted the pressure exerted by European leaders on the Turkish president both on the road map of Turkey’s accession course and on issues of Greek interest, such as the two Greek soldiers detained in the prison of Edirne after their arrest for illegal entry into Turkey, and the improvement of relations with Greece and Cyprus. Jean-Claude Juncker expressed the hope that the issue of the two troops from Greece could be resolved before Easter.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as he had announced, handed over to European leaders external drives of videos and images from Afrin, that show the Kurdish actions in the area, in addition to figures and images of the hospitality of refugees in Turkey.
Donald Tusk and Jean Claude Juncker, while stressing that Turkey has withheld its part of the Agreement on the refugee problem, did not fail to mention the steps Turkey has to take on its roadmap for EU membership, including the detention of the two Greek soldiers, the improvement of Turkey’s relations with Greece and Cyprus and the military operations in Afrin.
For his part, the Turkish President stressed that he believed the difficult period in Turkish – EU relations was left behind. Recep Tayyip Erdogan recalled that Turkey hosts 4 million refugees and maintains its part of the Agreement. “We received 1.8 billion euros from the first 3 billion, and we hope for the other three billion”, said the Turkish president.
Finally, Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed the hope for the lifting of the visa to Turkish citizens, while he spoke of “a strategic long-term relationship with the EU”. On Cyprus, he said that “the EU must behave fairly with the issue of Cyprus, because this is the only way it will contribute to a solution”. As for the “illegal” actions of the exploitation of natural resources, “the Turkish Cypriots should be included in the decision-making mechanism of such actions”, the Turkish President stressed.
Erdogan concluded saying that trust with the EU is returning.
The positive climate that prevailed at the end of the EU-Turkey Summit remains to be seen in the following period, depending on Turkey’s moves.
Borissov-Erdogan hold informal bilateral meeting
Prior to the working dinner of the EU-Turkey summit, the prime minister of Bulgaria – which has the presidency of the EU – Boyko Borissov had an informal meeting with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to information of IBNA, the planning was for a formal meeting of the two leaders, but with the intervention from the EU, it was downgraded to informal.
During the meeting, bilateral issues of energy, economy and investment, transport, the refugee issue and relations with Russia were discussed./IBNA