EU Leaders Seek To Build On Improving Ties With Turkey
Umer Jamshaid 17 days ago Thu 25th March 2021 | 09:30 AM
Brussels, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 25th Mar, 2021 ) :European Union leaders will on Thursday consider diplomatic and economic incentives to encourage strategic southeastern neighbour Turkey to continue improving often fraught ties with the EU and promote stability.
Relations with Ankara are on the table at a video summit of the 27 EU nations as the bloc plots a way forward after an alarming spike in tensions last year over Turkey's gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.
European Council President Charles Michel, who chairs the meeting, said the bloc want to step up "engagement with Turkey in a phased, conditional and reversible manner".
The EU "needs to work on concrete proposals for a 'positive agenda' that fosters a constructive dynamic, including in terms of regional stability," Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi told lawmakers.
- 'All options on table' - EU members are divided over the approach to Turkey, with Cyprus, Greece and France urging a tough line while others, led by economic powerhouse Germany, take a softer approach.
An initial copy of the draft conclusions for the summit seen by AFP contained a raft of incentives to convince Erdogan to make good on warming ties.
These included the prospect of meeting key Turkish ambitions for top-level talks, renewing a customs union and liberalising visa rules.
"The EU is ready to open three projects in June -- customs union, high-level political dialogue on security issues and mobility," the diplomat said.
"But if there is any backsliding then he will defeat his interests." A report by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell laid out the options to leaders, and said the bloc could look to target Turkey's key tourism sector if Ankara escalates tensions.
"It is important to keep all options on the table in case required," Borrell said after a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday.
"There is no sign for the moment -- so here we are, in a bit of a waiting position."