Turkey-EU ties little better than past year: Rapporteur
2020 was the worst year in ties between Turkey and Europe but now they are slightly better, a rapporteur of the European Parliament has said, citing the resumption of dialogue between Turkey and Greece as a positive move.
Nacho Sanchez Amor, European Parliament’s rapporteur on Turkey, met with Turkish journalists on Oct. 9 during a visit to Istanbul.
“The past year was the worst period of the Ankara-Brussels ties. It’s a little better today,” Amor said, referring to an escalation between Turkey and Greece in the eastern Mediterranean, which also deteriorated the Ankara-Brussels ties.
“The de-escalation in the eastern Mediterranean and the resumption of high-level talks have created a positive momentum. The environment is much more suitable for resuming talks [between Turkey and the EU],” he suggested.
Turkey and Greece confronted in 2020 over overlapping continental shelf claims. The EU stood with Greece and threatened Turkey with sanctions should it continue its hydrocarbon activities in the region.
Turkey seems reluctant to pursue reforms for the EU process and that’s why there is a stagnation in the accession negotiations, the rapporteur stated, but denying that the EU is seeking other formulas than full membership.
On Turkey’s demand of the modernization of the customs union, Amor claimed that the European Parliament will unlikely approve it unless there is a visible improvement in the field of democracy.
On the ongoing migrant deal between Turkey and the EU, the rapporteur expressed the EU’s appreciation toward Turkey’s extraordinary efforts in handling the refugee problem, saying “We have fully fulfilled our political and financial responsibilities.”
On visa liberalization, Amor recalled that Turkey has to meet the remaining six benchmarks for visa liberalization.
Both upgrading customs union and visa liberalization were part of the 2016 migrant deal, but they were not yet met by the EU despite Ankara’s constant pressure.