EU calls on Turkey to “seize the opportunity” to improve relations before proposing a new agenda

An image of the meeting between the EU and Turkey.

The European Union has indicated this Tuesday that Turkey must “seize the opportunity” offered by the block to improve relationships, before an agenda can be substantiated with which to increase economic cooperation and renew the migration agreement of 2016.

Behind the meeting this Tuesday in Ankara with the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, they have urged Turkey to take the hand that the European bloc extends to him in the face of an offer to boost relationships. However, both leaders have slipped that the proposal will not arrive before June, in view of how the situation in the Mediterranean evolves.

We want to move forward to have better relationships in the future. But we are at the beginning of this path and the next weeks and months will show how far we can go on this path together, “said Von der Leyen after the meeting.

In the same vein, the former Belgian prime minister has put the spotlight on Erdogan, insisting that it is now up to Turkey to seize the opportunity to pursue the positive agenda that Brussels wants to start with Ankara. In any case, he has indicated that the leaders of the Twenty-seven will take up this issue in June, so no firm offer is expected beforehand.

The visit to Turkey is an important sign of the EU’s willingness to channel relations after the turbulence experienced last year, particularly in the tensions with Greece and Cyprus over maritime disputes. Brussels understands that Ankara is an unavoidable neighbor in the European neighborhood and it plays an important role in the stability of the area and in European migration policy itself. To do this, it raises an agenda that increases economic cooperation, increases mobility between the EU and Turkey, increases high-level dialogue for challenges such as the pandemic, the climate or the digital transition, and guarantees the good management of migration.

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This step comes at a time when Ankara has eased regional tensions with Greece and Cyprus., with which it has initiated processes to resolve pending conflicts, but even so in Brussels there is concern about the deterioration of rights in Turkey with the departure of the Istanbul Convention on violence against women or the persecution of political minorities such as the pro-Kurdish Party Democratic of the Peoples.

In this sense, Von der Leyen has stressed that respect for the rule of law is of vital importance to normalize relations and has ensured that the departure from the Istanbul Convention “is not a good sign” and must be reversed. “We will not tire of saying it and being clear, this damages the process and we look forward to another approach from Turkey.”, has indicated, after ensuring that this issue has been discussed in depth with the Turkish president.


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