Politics, Europe

EU wants ‘positive agenda’ with Turkey, says top official

EU Commission head calls for de-escalation in E.Med, says EU is prepared to respond to possible new crisis

Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak   | 01.10.2020
EU wants ‘positive agenda’ with Turkey, says top official

ANKARA 

The European Union wants a “positive agenda” with Turkey, a top EU official said Thursday ahead of the European Council meeting in Brussels.

In a doorstep statement, EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen called for de-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean, but also warned that EU prepared tools to respond to a possible new crisis.

“There are two possibilities, either the tensions are rising that is something which we don't want, or there's de-escalation and we are moving towards a constructive relationship, this is what we want,” she said.

“But either way, there is a toolbox at the disposal of the European Union, we want de- escalation, we want a positive agenda [with Turkey], together this will be discussed today,” she added.

European Council President Charles Michel for his part said EU wants “more predictability, more stability in this region [Eastern Mediterranean]”.

He reiterated the bloc’s solidarity with EU members Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration.

“We are ready to engage different actions on the table,” he added.

EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said: “We are in a watershed moment to decide the future relationship with Turkey [and] trying to avoid escalation of the conflict on the international waters. “

“The [EU] ministers continue working on the comprehensive approach to the relationship with Turkey.”

EU leaders are meeting in Brussels on Thursday for two days of discussions on international issues, tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and future relations with Turkey.

Eastern Mediterranean dispute

Tensions have been running high for weeks in the Eastern Mediterranean, as Greece has disputed Turkey's energy exploration. 

Turkey -- the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean -- sent out drill ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, asserting its own rights in the region, as well as those of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. 

To reduce tensions, Ankara has called for dialogue and negotiations to ensure fair sharing of the region's resources. 

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