Borrell says EU-Turkey ties at turning point

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union, said on Tuesday that the EU’s relationship with Turkey was at a turning point and he urged Ankara to back down from conflict in the eastern Mediterranean.

EU-Turkey ties “are at a watershed moment in history, which will go to one side or the other, depending on what happens in the next days,” Borrell told the European Parliament.

“What has been happening during the summer are unacceptable events. Turkey has to refrain from taking unilateral actions. This is a basic element to allow the dialogue to advance – well, better, to start,” he said.

The bloc’s top diplomat also welcomed the cessation of hydrocarbon exploration by Turkey’s Oruç Reis seismic research ship in the eastern Mediterranean as “a step in the right direction”. 

Political and military tensions between Greece, Turkey and Cyprus have intensified this year over disputed territories in the Mediterranean and Aegean. Relations worsened after Turkey sent the Oruç Reis research vessel, escorted by warships, to explore for hydrocarbons in an area between Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete.