Time to open new page in EU accession: Turkish FM

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Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Feb. 5 warned against deepening distrust between Turkey and the European Union and said ties are passing through a very critical period.

The minister called on the EU to open a new page in accession talks which has been stalled for the past few years.

“We think it is time to open a new page in the accession process. The Council of the European Union should review its decision to suspend Partnership Council meetings and the meetings of high levels of contact and dialogue. We see that term president Croatia is also constructive in this regard,” he said at a meeting with the ambassadors of EU countries in Ankara.

The minister urged the EU to not restrict the cooperation of dialogue between Ankara and Brussels on the topics of non-accession issues.

The EU’s decisions for sanctions over Turkey’s hydrocarbon activities in eastern Mediterranean, Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring in Syria and the country’s bilateral deals with Libya have strained relations between Ankara and Brussels, he said.

“We need to increase our communication even further on these issues, which have become a problem among us,” the minister emphasized.

“The hydrocarbon activities problem is not just an issue between the EU and Turkey. This is an issue that affects all the countries in eastern Mediterranean. Here, if the EU acts neutral, we can work on a cooperation mechanism to guarantee the equal rights of the Turkish Cypriots,” Çavuşoğlu said.

“If the presence of the Turkish Cypriots continues to be denied, we will respond against every negative step the EU takes towards us. Then, tension increases. However, we need to take steps to reduce tension together,” he stated.

On Nov. 11, the EU Foreign Affairs Council adopted a framework in Brussels for restrictive measures against Turkey over its drilling activities in eastern Mediterranean.

The signing of a memorandum of understanding between Turkey and Libya on the demarcation of maritime jurisdiction zones in eastern Mediterranean also became a source of criticism of the EU towards Turkey in favor of Greek Cyprus and Greece.

Meanwhile, ahead of the meeting, European Union ambassadors sang Çavuşoğlu a birthday song and gave him a special present due to his birthday.

Hurriyet Daily News

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