Tuesday

21st Feb 2017

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.

Turkey sends EU mixed message on migration

Turkey's EU minister said in Bratislava his country will continue to respect the migration deal, but would not do more until it gets visa-free EU travel.

EU-Turkey relations plunge to new low

Turkey has jailed opposition MPs, accused Germany of sheltering terrorists, and threatened, once again, to scrap the EU migrant deal.

News in Brief

  1. EU ministers approve anti-tax avoidance directive
  2. Poland rejects EU criticism of court changes
  3. German nationalist leader met with Putin allies in Moscow
  4. German housing market overheated, says Bundesbank
  5. France invites three EU leaders for Versailles summit in March
  6. Greece agrees on new bailout reforms
  7. EU commission denies Juncker resignation rumour
  8. US "strongly committed" to cooperation with EU, says vice-president

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  2. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  4. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  5. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  6. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersThe Situation of Refugee Women in Europe
  8. Salzburg Global SeminarToward a Shared Culture of Health: Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship
  9. European Free AllianceAustria Should Preserve & Promote Bilingual and Multinational Carinthia
  10. Martens CentreShow Your Love for Democracy! Take Part in Our Contest: "If It's Broken, Let's Fix It"
  11. CISPECloud Computing Leaders Establish Data Protection Standards to Protect Customer Data
  12. Malta EU 2017Landmark Deal Reached With European Parliament on Portability of Online Content

Latest News

  1. Dieselgate: EU disappointed with VW's treatment of customers
  2. French police raid Le Pen's party office
  3. The Armenia-Azerbaijan war: A refugee's story
  4. Greece and creditors break bailout deadlock
  5. Internal EU report exposes Libya turmoil
  6. EU commissioner condemns 'delay' in post-Dieselgate reform
  7. Sweden fights back as foreign leaders make up bad news
  8. Nordstream 2: Alternative pipeline facts