Greece on Wednesday urged Turkey to demonstrate it is genuinely committed to advancing its prospects for membership of the European Union.
A statement released by the Foreign Ministry in the wake of the European Commission’s progress report on Turkey said that Greece has “repeatedly expressed its firm support” for Ankara’s European aspirations.
“However, recent developments have once again made it clear that it is up to Turkey itself to show in practice and to what extent it wants to move ahead on its European course,” it said.
Below is the full statement by the Greek Foreign Ministry:
“Greece is a long-standing supporter of the enlargement of the European Union, on the obvious condition that the prerequisites set, including the respect for international law and good neighbourly relations, are met and have been implemented in the respective case of each candidate country.
Significant progress in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Albania’s substantial and sustainable progress regarding the five key priorities and significant progress in reforms in the former Yugoslav Republic of Yugoslavia, which the European Union has characterized as urgent, are considered by Greece as issues of major European, regional and Greek interest in the Western Balkans. Greece also notes that the resolution of the name issue remains an intrinsic part of the prerequisites that have been set.
As an adjacent country, Greece is working systematically to promote its relations with Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. It should be remembered that it was under the Greek presidency, at the 2003 Thessaloniki Summit Meeting on the Western Balkans, that the EU confirmed its commitment to the European perspective of the Western Balkan region. This led to the granting of candidate-country status to these two states, in 2014 and 2005, respectively.
Specifically with regard to Albania, our country is focused on minority and property rights as well as on the need for full compliance with the pacta sunt servanda principle and on effectively combating of organized crime and drug trafficking.
Regarding the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, there is still a long way to go in covering the gap created by the backsliding in recent years. The country’s stability and progress are of vital interest to Greece. We note that this is the seventh time the country has received a positive recommendation from the European Commission. Nevertheless, once again it must be made clear to all sides that the decisions are not made by the Commission but by the Council, where Greece has set out its positions clearly.
Greece has repeatedly expressed its firm support for Turkey’s European perspective. However, recent developments have once again made it clear that it is up to Turkey itself to show in practice and to what extent it wants to move ahead on its European course.
We welcome the European Commission’s statement that Ankara’s provocative behaviour towards member states of the European Union, primarily in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, is not simply a bilateral matter, but also concerns the Union’s regional security. Moreover, we are especially satisfied at the express reference to the two Greek soldiers who continue to be detained in Edirne.
Overall, the Union’s future enlargement depends directly on the need to carry out a serious and substantial debate on our common future within a democratic, social, just and effective Europe. A Europe that meets its peoples’ expectations.”