Athens has raised objections to the draft prepared for a summit of European Union leaders tomorrow and on Friday concerning ties with Turkey as, along with Nicosia, it considers that it does not reflect the balanced report submitted on Monday by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.
Cyprus in particular rejected the draft as “totally unacceptable.”
The draft statement expresses a dual approach to Ankara, but with a greater emphasis on the positive agenda. It refers to the strategic interest of the EU for a stable and safe environment in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the development of a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship with Turkey.
It also welcomes the recent de-escalation in the East Mediterranean with the cessation of illegal drilling activities, the resumption of bilateral talks between Greece and Turkey and the renewed engagement with the Cyprus issue under the auspices of the United Nations.
It added that the EU is ready to cooperate with Turkey on a number of issues provided that the current de-escalation is maintained and that the conditions set out in previous European Council conclusions are met, and that it will take further decisions at the European Council meeting in June.
At the same time, however, it reaffirms the determination of the EU, in the event of renewed challenges or unilateral actions that violate international law, to use the means and options at its disposal to defend the interests and interests of its member-states.
The report also noted Turkey deserved more financial support for hosting millions of Syrian refugees, as well as visa-free travel to the EU, and an expanded customs union.
However, it insisted that this will only be possible if Turkey respects human rights and shows greater flexibility over the divided island of Cyprus and hydrocarbon rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.