The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament support the call of the EU High Representative Josep Borrell for dialogue between all sides to deescalate tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey is an important country that we respect and with whom we share some common interests, but it must be clear to Ankara that the EU is determined to protect its values, its principles and international law.
Nacho Sánchez Amor, S&D MEP and the European Parliament rapporteur on Turkey, said:
“Although very complex, the relation between the EU and Turkey should be driven by the fact that Turley is a candidate country. And this should mean for Ankara the progressive alignment with EU standards and policies in all fields. The current situation, however, is just the opposite. We witness a constant distancing, underpinned by a lack of trust, and affecting all aspects of our relation. Namely in the accession process, with a huge backsliding in human rights; in the current customs union, while we are quarrelling at the WTO; in the visa liberalisation, on which Turkey still has to comply with benchmarks, or in migration where the EU is complying with commitments, but Turkey uses it for putting more pressure.
“The recent unilateral actions by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean – as its actions in Libya and northern Syria - have further increased the escalation and the lack of trust between Turkey and the EU. Turkey must understand that the EU is not taking sides with Greece and Cyprus out of solidarity, but that Greece and Cyprus are in the EU, and therefore they have our full support. However, we need to move forward. The current trend would not bring anything positive to anyone. We need dialogue, frankness and negotiation in good faith from all sides.
“Keeping alive the accession process is our only leverage to support the Turkish society, which continues to aspire for a more democratic and pro-European Turkey.”
Kati Piri, S&D vice-president for foreign affairs, said:
“The Eastern Mediterranean is a key region for Europe. It is high time to address tensions there through genuine collective engagement, in order to create a way forward and good neighbourly relations, and peace and security, as proposed by Josep Borrell this week during his visit to Turkey. This cannot be achieved through unilateral actions by Turkey, and requires instead cooperation and good will from all sides.
The S&D Group has repeatedly criticised Turkey in the last few months for its drilling activities in Cypriot waters, increasing tensions in the Aegean Sea, its further dismantling of Turkish democracy and its actions in Libya. The Council has decided to react to some of these actions by imposing targeted sanctions which the S&D Group supports.”