An EU enlargement report calls on Turkey to tone down actions and threats against member states including the Republic of Cyprus, while Ankara accuses the European Commission of adopting Greek and Greek Cypriot biases.
The 2021 Enlargement Package which was published on Tuesday gave a detailed assessment of the state of play and the progress made by the Western Balkans and Turkey on their respective paths towards the European Union.
It also said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration had overseen a continued erosion of democracy and the rule of law, while noting Ankara had ignored previous recommendations from last year.
“Under the current circumstances, Turkey’s accession negotiations have effectively come to a standstill,” the report said.
But the Turkish foreign ministry accused the bloc of adopting disproportionate positions without evaluating the conditions specific to Turkey concerning the country's political situation and fight against terrorism.
'Under the current circumstances, Turkey’s accession negotiations have effectively come to a standstill' the report said
Ankara went on to accuse the bloc of failing to keep its promises to the EU candidate and of not fulfilling its responsibilities.
The ministry said in a written statement that the report on the enlargement strategy "unfortunately" overlooked responsibilities toward Turkey at a time when Ankara had revived high-level dialogue with the EU and sought to develop a better political agenda with the bloc.
In the enlargement report there were references to the Republic of Cyprus as well as Greece - two EU states challenging Turkey’s maritime claims - with the executive body calling on Turkey to respect their rights to “explore and exploit natural resources, in accordance with EU and international law, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.”
“Accordingly, Turkey is expected to refrain from any drilling activities of hydrocarbons in the maritime zones of other states,” the reports said.
In early October Turkey expelled a Cypriot research vessel from waters west of the island, a maritime area with zones claimed by both Ankara and Nicosia.
Greek Cypriot sources from the Defense Ministry said Nautical Geo - a Maltese-flagged, Italian-operated research vessel carrying out work recently on behalf of Greece and the Republic of Cyprus - had permission to conduct research inside the island’s exclusive economic zone.
But Turkey said the activity area for Nautical Geo "covered Turkish continental shelf” with additional reports saying Ankara had reprimanded Malta and Italy through diplomatic channels over lack of coordination and not having been consulted on any permits for Nautical Geo.
Turkish media said Ankara went on to slam the report for including “unfair criticisms and baseless claims” in favor of Greeks and Greek Cypriots, while rejecting the report for having a “double-standard approach.”
The Turkish foreign ministry also accused the Union of adopting disproportionate positions without evaluating the conditions specific to Turkey concerning the country's political situation and fight against terrorism.
Turkey has been negotiating EU membership since 2005 but Erdogan’s response to an attempted coup in July 2016 was harshly criticized by the bloc mainly on human rights, harming relations between Brussels and Ankara.