Turkey welcomed the European Union’s efforts and rhetoric to promote the recent positive atmosphere between Brussels and Ankara, but rejected European criticism of Turkey’s actions in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said it hoped that the conditionality of the steps that the European Union intends to take and their postponement to the next European summit in June would not lose the positive momentum while accusing the EU of violating international law by characterizing Turkey’s actions in the Eastern Mediterranean as illegal.
As stated in the joint statement of the members of the European Council on the Eastern Mediterranean, which met yesterday to discuss various issues related to the EU, “We will continue to closely monitor developments and seek a coordinated approach with partners.”
In particular, the EU called on Turkey to abstain from renewed provocations or unilateral actions, as stated in the joint statement of the 27 leaders of the EU Member States.
In addition, it is underlined that the European Union is ready to engage with Turkey in a phased, proportionate and reversible manner to enhance cooperation in a number of areas of common interest and take further decisions at the European Council meeting in June.
The EU also recalled the European Union’s strategic interest in a stable and secure environment in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the development of a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship with Turkey
They also welcomed the recent de-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean through the discontinuation of illegal drilling activities, the resumption of bilateral talks between Greece and Turkey and the forthcoming talks on the Cyprus problem under the auspices of the United Nations.
Greek government pleased with the joint statement of the 27 EU leaders
Greek government officials said they were pleased with the joint statement of the 27 EU leaders on Turkey, which, as they said, is based on the Borrell report and confirms the results of previous European Councils in the neighbouring country.
“All decisions are gradual, conditional and reversible. A blank check is not being given to Turkey, whose behaviour will be assessed and the relevant decisions will be taken in June,” government officials said.
According to the same officials, “significant changes have been made compared to the original draft following extensive negotiations,” and as they stressed, “the final text is balanced and reflects the Borrell report.”