NEWS

EU takes tougher line on Turkey

VASSILIS NEDOS

TAGS: Diplomacy, EU, Cyprus, Turkey

The negative mood in the European Union regarding Ankara was confirmed during Thursday’s teleconference of the bloc’s foreign ministers, with the EU’s High Representative Josep Borrell stressing that Turkey’s behavior “widens the gap” separating it from Europe and that a return to a positive agenda presupposes a “fundamental change of attitude” on its part.

“We consider the recent actions and statements by Turkey related to Cyprus contrary to the United Nations resolutions and further igniting tensions,” he said. He stressed that time is running out, noting that Euro-Turkish relations are approaching a milestone, referring to the December 10-11 EU summit.

“There have been no positive signals” from Ankara, the Spanish official said.

A similar message, namely that if Turkey continues the provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean sanctions will be discussed at the December European Council, was sent by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

“It is up to Turkey what decision will be taken at the EU summit in December,” he said.

According to diplomatic sources, member-states that usually keep a low profile on the issue of Turkey (including Estonia, Ireland and the Netherlands) also took a tougher line in Thursday’s teleconference.

For his part, Nikos Dendias reportedly referred in detail to the ongoing illegal provocative Turkish actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the occupied city of Varosha in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus which directly undermine the conditions set at the European Council’s October 1-2 summit to improve relations.

“Unfortunately, through Ankara’s fault, there does not seem to be room for a positive dialogue,” Dendias told his counterparts. “It must immediately prepare and adopt the appropriate measures that will force Turkey to respect international law,” he said.

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