Ankara-Brussels ties 'a little better' than in 2020, but differences remain - EU rapporteur
Turkey’s relations with the European Union have only improved “a little” since 2020 when relations were at a new low, the European Parliament rapporteur said during a visit to Ankara on Saturday, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
On Saturday, EP rapporteur Nacho Sanchez Amor told journalists in Ankara that attempts at de-escalating the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea between Turkey and EU members, Greece and Cyprus, was a welcome initiative.
Tensions ran high as fears of a military confrontation between Turkey and Greece throughout 2020. The EU threw its weight behind its members and threatened to sanction Turkey unless it ceased its aggressive rhetoric and actions.
The two neighbours began holding talks at the start of 2021, but they continue to make accusations against the other over maritime boundaries and militarising the region.
Amor praised Turkey for its continued hosting of close to 4 million Syrian refugees and preventing them from reaching the EU. This deal has been contentious over accusations that Turkey uses it to “blackmail” the EU for concessions on other fronts, but also from the Turkish perspective over the failure of the EU to update either the customs union or visa liberalisation elements of the deal.
Amor blamed Turkey's unwillingness to enact these reforms as the reason for freezing its EU accession talks, rather than being a part of the 2016 refugee deal. He suggested that absent any democratic reforms, there would be no update to the agreement. On the visa liberalisation aspect, Amor said Turkey did not yet reach specific benchmarks to qualify.