21st Oct 2016

EU and Erdogan try to defuse tensions

  • Juncker (l) and Tusk (c) with Turkey's president (Photo: European Union)

The EU and Turkey have sought to defuse tensions amid a meeting in China between Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and top EU officials.

EU Council chief Donald Tusk on Monday (5 September), before his return flight, tweeted a picture of himself sitting with Erdogan and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The men had met in the margins of the China G20 summit, with Juncker’s spokesman also posting optimistic messages on social media.

An EU source told this website that the two sides had agreed to "tone down tensions a bit" following the failed military coup against Erdogan in mid-July.

But despite the niceties, Ergodan spoke out bluntly the same day, telling the G20 press corps that the West was “racist”.

"The protectionist and even racist attitude adopted by the West regarding the refugee issue is a shame for humanity," he was quoted as saying by a government-friendly Turkish newspaper, the Daily Sabah.

Erdogan has accused the West of failing to demonstrate solidarity several times since the failed putsch.

The bad relations were made worse by EU criticism of his purge of thousands of suspected coup sympathisers, in a situation that appeared to imperil the EU-Turkey accord on migration.

But the EU source said the agreement, which attempts to prevent people from crossing the Aegean sea to seek asylum in Greece, is "mutually beneficial".

Erdogan, said the source, had also agreed to remove a self-imposed deadline for the EU to lift visa restrictions on Turkish nationals.

The Turkish president had previously threatened to scrap the migrant deal should visas remain in place in October.

The EU, for its part, insists that Turkey reform its anti-terror laws as a precondition for the waivers. Ankara has refused.

An EU commission spokesperson on Monday told reporters in Brussels that the migrant deal with Turkey remains intact.

She noted that some 1,244 Syrian refugees have been resettled from Turkey to various member states.

"Returns also continue to Turkey, which is the other part of this agreement," she said.

News in Brief

  1. Juncker hopes for Canada accord in 'next few days'
  2. Romania drops opposition to Ceta
  3. Difficulties remain on Ceta deal, says Walloon leader
  4. Brexit could lead to 'some civil unrest' in Northern Ireland
  5. ECB holds rates and continues quantitive easing programme
  6. Support for Danish People's Party drops, poll
  7. Spain's highest court overturns Catalan ban on bullfighting
  8. Tusk: 'Concrete' migration proposals in December summit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  2. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  3. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  4. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  6. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  7. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  8. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  9. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  10. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity

Latest News

  1. Wallonia still refuses to buy the Ceta "cat in a bag"
  2. Women shake Poland's pillars of power
  3. Malta, Latvia, and Hungary top EU obesity charts
  4. British PM asserts her role in EU 'nest of doves'
  5. Italy shields Russia from EU sanctions threat
  6. EU and Wallonia still stuck on Canada accord
  7. Dieselgate isn't my fault, says German transport minister
  8. Scotland plans independence vote before Brexit