Monday

26th Aug 2019

EU-Turkey summit ends with 'no solutions'

EU relations with Turkey remain tense following a meeting in Bulgaria where leaders from both sides outlined differences.

Speaking to reporters in the Black Sea resort of Varna on Monday (26 March), European Council president Donald Tusk said no solutions or compromises had been found between Ankara and the EU.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"If you are asking me if we achieved some solutions or compromises, my answer is no. What I can say that is that I raised all our concerns, as you know it was a long list," he said.

Tusk, along with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Bulgaria's prime minister Boyko Borisov, had met with Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan as part of a broader effort to improve fraught relations.

The two sides found common ground on migration, an area of cooperation that appears only to underscore tensions elsewhere. Outstanding internal issues on rule of law, the mass jailing of journalists, Turkish assertive military forays in northern Syria, wider conflicts with Cyprus and the detention of Greek soldiers, remain unresolved.

EU leaders had only last week in a summit in Brussels roundly condemned Turkey's "illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea" and demanded that Ankara respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources.

The same message was repeated in Varna, with Erdogan stating that he had handed over information to the EU leaders to explain Turkey's position that he claims respects international laws.

"Not until the European Union stops being overly critical, in particular certain members of the EU, we will not be able to engage fully in improving the relations," said Erdogan.

He warned against isolating Turkey. He said its fight against terrorism is a buffer for the EU. He said that the EU needs to lift mandatory short stay visas on Turkish nationals, and that the EU has only doled out €1.8bn of the some €3bn promised to help refugees inside the country.

"Turkey respects fundamental human rights and is a country that respects human rights," he said, noting that Turkey still wants to become a member of the European Union.

Formal talks for membership started in 2005 but have been frozen since the widespread crackdown on dissent and opposition following the failed military coup in 2016.

Turkey maintains it is purging people behind the coup, which it has blamed on the exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen.

But Juncker in the lead up to the meeting with Erdogan said he had "mixed feelings" of the meeting.

He appears to have maintained the sentiment, noting that the discussions were "frank", which is diplomatic code for disputatious.

He told Turkey to "have a new look at the imprisoning of journalists."

Juncker said Turkey should release the Greek soldiers before the Greek Orthodox Easter, on 8 April, and pressed that the EU was the first to express solidarity with Ankara in the immediate aftermath of the failed military coup in July 2016.

The two sides may meet again in June to continue talks.

Opinion

Appeasement will not work with Erdogan

As EU leaders Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker meet president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Bulgaria, their reluctance to use their diminishing leverage with Ankara means his dismantling of Turkey's democracy only speeds up.

Turkey 'ready' to reform terror laws for EU visa deal

Faruk Kaymakci, Turkey's ambassador to the EU, says Ankara is ready to reform its anti-terror laws and meet all outstanding benchmarks so that Turks can travel freely to EU member states without visas.

Opinion

Erdogan's diplomats have become 'Gulenist-busters'

Under president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's diplomats have been turned into agents hunting supposed followers of his opponent Fethullah Gulen, and are now suspected of harassing journalists even in Belgium.

Opinion

Calling time on European-Turkish strategic relations

With an Erdogan-Putin summit on Tuesday, joined by Iran on Wednesday, it is time for Europe to face facts - Turkey's ties with the West are no longer strategic. When Europe goes hither, Turkey deliberately goes thither.

Analysis

Beyond macho: Turkish-EU ties

Turkey has belittled the EU in a week of macho posturing, but strategic relations go deeper than the rhetoric.

News in Brief

  1. Ocean Viking to disembark in Malta after ordeal
  2. Germany joins France in world outcry on Brazil fires
  3. British people lose faith in Brexit deal
  4. Brexit hardliners want further changes to EU deal
  5. German manufacturers confirm fear of recession
  6. Belgian socialists and liberals scrap over EU post
  7. Fall in EU migration leading to UK skills shortages
  8. Switzerland makes post-Brexit flight preparations

Opinion

Time to pay attention to Belarus

Belarus may be hosting the European Games, but Vladimir Putin is not playing games when it comes to Belarus' independence. The West needs to get serious as well.

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Spain heading for yet another general election
  2. EU to discuss Brazil beef ban over Amazon fires
  3. 'Our house is burning,' Macron says on Amazon fires
  4. What happens when trafficking survivors get home
  5. EU states and Russia clash on truth of WW2 pact
  6. EU considers new rules on facial recognition
  7. EU to pledge Africa security funds at G7 summit
  8. Letter from the EESC on per diem article

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us