Turkish, EU top diplomats discuss rising tension in east Med
Turkey’s foreign minister on Aug. 6 met with the EU’s foreign policy chief to discuss relations between Ankara and Brussels, as well as regional matters in the eastern Mediterranean as the tension escalates between members of the bloc with Ankara over the latter’s increasing presence in the region.
“Our relations should not be taken hostage by some member states. The EU should keep its promises made on migration. Turkey will continue to defend her rights forever in the eastern Mediterranean,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu tweeted after the meeting in Malta, to which he paid an official visit to meet with EU top diplomat Josep Borrell.
Borrell toils to “normalize” ties between Turkey and the EU and tries to soften the tension in the eastern Mediterranean, said the foreign minister.
Turkey’s decision to enlarge energy exploration activities in the eastern Mediterranean and the deal Ankara made last year with Libya’s legitimate government on maritime delimitation spiraled up tension between the EU and Ankara furthermore.
Discussion about the ways to renew the migrant deal of 2016 was also carried out, Çavuşoğlu said.
Elaborating on the migrant deal, Çavuşoğlu added, “Unfortunately, it is not fully implemented because of the EU. The EU did not keep its promise. How do we make a new comprehensive deal now?”
In March, the EU and Turkey agreed to review a four-year-old deal on managing migrants and refugees in an effort to settle a dispute that sent thousands of people to the Turkey-Greece border in hopes of reaching Europe.
Ankara accused the EU of not meeting its obligations under the 2016 agreement, including failing to pay money promised to Turkey to stem the flow of migrants to Europe.
The EU desires to see stronger relations with Turkey, according to a statement by the bloc following the meeting.
“Turkey is an important partner for the EU. EU member states wish to see the mutual relations strengthened, reversing current negative trends,” the office of Borrell said in a written statement after his meeting in Malta’s capital Valletta.
“The meeting was a continuation of their intensive exchanges held over the last months, most recently over the phone on July 23,” it said.
The talks in Valetta on Aug. 6 took place ahead of an informal meeting to be held between EU Foreign Ministers (Gymnich) on Aug. 27-28 in Berlin where relations with Turkey will be discussed again as a follow up to the debate held at the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on July 13.
“They had an open and frank exchange on EU-Turkey relations, key regional issues and the situation in the eastern Mediterranean, particularly, on conflicts in Libya and Syria,” said the statement.