Upholding fundamental freedoms, values essential in EU’s re-engagement with Turkey: Borrell

Josep Borrell

Upholding fundamental freedoms and values as defined by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) would be essential in the EU’s re-engagement with Turkey, High Representative Josep Borrell said following a Foreign Affairs Council meeting on Thursday in Brussels.

Earlier this month Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave a green light to Sweden’s entry to NATO after saying at the last moment that he would only back Sweden’s NATO candidacy if the EU resumes long-stalled membership talks with Ankara.

According to Borrell a sustainable de-escalation in the eastern Mediterranean and solving the Cyprus issue in line with the relevant UN resolutions will be key factors in the EU’s re-engagement with Turkey.

“We agreed that the European Union needs to engage with Turkey, and build on common interests, trying to bridge the existing differences. So, the Council tasked me to try to implement this objective: to engage with Turkey, building on common interests and trying to bridge the existing differences,” he said.

Members of European Parliament (MEP) said in a report adopted by the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) on Tuesday by 47 votes in favor, no votes against and 10 abstentions that unless there is a drastic change of course by the Turkish government, Ankara’s EU accession process cannot resume under the current circumstances.

The MEPs report called for a “break [in] the current deadlock” and for “a parallel and realistic framework” in EU-Turkey relations.

Speaking to Euronews about Turkey-European Union relations, Nacho Sanchez Amor, the European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur, said no changes or reforms have been carried out in Turkey to fulfill the Copenhagen criteria but that there has been instead a complete regression in human rights and the rule of law.

Turkey first applied to be a member of the European Economic Community — the predecessor of the EU — in 1987.

It became an EU candidate country in 1999 and formally launched membership negotiations with the bloc in 2005.

The talks stalled over European concerns about human rights violations that came in the midst of a sweeping crackdown Erdoğan launched after surviving a failed 2016 military coup.

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