Turkey-EU working on elements of positive agenda: Envoy
Sevil Erkuş- ANKARA
Turkey and the European Union (EU) are working on the elements of positive agenda which the European Council outlined previously, EU Ambassador to Turkey Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut said on Jan. 20.
The ambassador recalled that the EU-Turkey report for 2021 mentioned “backsliding” in Turkey in the area of human rights, the rule of law and more widely in Copenhagen criteria, and noted that this decision does not allow for the continuation of accession negotiations.
“In this context, they are working on the elements of positive agenda between Ankara and Brussels,” Meyer-Landrut said, speaking to the members of the Diplomatic Correspondent’s Association.
Asked about the ongoing case of Osman Kavala, a businessman and civil society activist who has been in jail for more than four years on the charges of financing the 2013 Gezi protests and playing a role in the 2016 coup attempt, the envoy said they have been monitoring the trial as they had been doing previously.
Meyer-Landrut recalled that the EU expects all members of the Council of Europe to comply with the obligations and respect the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
“We continue to observe this case as we did previously. We have said, repeatedly, publicly, that we expect all members of the Council of Europe to live up to the obligations of the membership which means also respecting the decisions of the body, bodies of the Council of Europe, including the court. Now, further proceedings are with the Council of Europe, and I will not speak for the Council of Europe. It is a different organization,” he stated.
Asked how the Turkish court’s decision would impact the EU-Turkey relations with regards to human rights issues, the ambassador said, “I will not reply hypothetically to the developments which are in the future. It is now in the hands of Council of Europe to pursue its procedures.”
He noted that several members of the EU are also members of the Council of Europe and added, “We will then see to what extent and what reflection these procedures in the Council of Europe will have on the EU position.”
A heavy panel court in Istanbul denied Kavala’s appeal for release in the latest hearing on Jan. 17, despite the ruling of the ECHR for his release.
Elaborating on the EastMed project, which the U.S. has withdrawn, the ambassador said that at this stage EU has been supporting feasibility studies. “We have to see what comes out from these studies before we can draw any conclusions.”