Restoration of Turkey-Europe ties moves forward

Restoration of Turkey-Europe ties moves forward

With the New Year holidays over, the coming days will observe that diplomacy is gaining more and more momentum. On Jan. 21, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu will meet the European Union’s foreign and security policy representative Josep Borrell for the preparations of the upcoming Turkey-EU Summit.

In Brussels, Çavuşoğlu will also meet European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as well as commissioners responsible for enlargement and interior affairs. The foreign minister will also hold a meeting with Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

After Çavuşoğlu’s talks, Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen will come to Turkey to meet President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan late January.

As stated, both Erdoğan and Çavuşoğlu, in their meetings with the EU ambassadors yesterday, many in the Turkish capital underline that these meetings will pave the way for a new era in the relations between Ankara and Brussels in line with the European Council resolution last month.

The main ground of these talks will be “the positive agenda” outlined by the EU. Accordingly, the renewal of the migrant deal in line with the new realities, visa liberalization and updating the customs union will be on the main course of the leaders. It’s time for the EU to fulfill its promises on the said titles so that the positive agenda becomes meaningful and valuable for both sides.

On Jan. 25, Turkey and Greece will resume exploratory talks to resolve the problems stemming from the Aegean and Mediterranean. The foreign ministers of Turkey and Greece are also expected to hold a meeting in the coming period.
Turkey and France also agreed on a road map and consultations for a rapid normalization of ties to further improve them after months-long tension.

Besides, diplomacy concerning the Cyprus problem is also moving forward. The U.N. secretary-general’s special envoy Jane Holl Lute met with both Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders on Jan. 11 in a bid to report whether there is a ground for a new initiative for the resolution of the decades-old division of the island.

It’s expected that the two communities as well as three guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom will come together with the participation of the U.N. in a 5+1 format in February.

Plus, although very difficult to happen, an international conference on the eastern Mediterranean that would bring all the littoral countries to discuss how to include all the parties into regional hydrocarbon activities and to avoid future conflicts is still on the table.

All these indicate that the restoration of ties between Turkey and its European partners are moving forward. This process should be supported by Turkey through genuine reforms and encouraged by the EU through the fulfillment of its words. Ties between Ankara and Brussels need to be boosted by concrete moves just like in 1996 by the start of the customs union or in 2005 by the launch of formal negotiations. It’s time for a new spirit and energy in ties between Turkey and the EU.