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26 May, 2024
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Turkey's lack of progress will delay accession talks with the EU

Turkey must show significant progress in the field of the rule of law and fundamental rights before a resumption of talks on EU accession can begin

Source: CNA

The European Parliament cannot envisage a resumption of negotiations for the accession of Turkey into the EU without clear and significant progress in the field of rule of law and fundamental rights, according to the progress report adopted by the plenary in Strasbourg on Tuesday, with 448 votes in favor, 67 against and 107 abstentions out of a total of 662 votes.

Although it is noted there has been a "slight improvement" in relations over the past year, increased cooperation in some areas coexists with regular conflicts, as relations remain difficult with neighboring EU member states, particularly Greece and Cyprus.

(The EU) condemns the harassment by Turkish warships of research vessels carrying out work in the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus, as well as violations of Greek airspace.

The resolution condemns the harassment of research vessels in the Cypriot EEZ as well as the country's violation of UNSC resolutions on Varosha. Turkey is also urged to allow the TC community the space to fulfill its role as a community on the island and the Republic of Cyprus to facilitate the strengthening of TC relations with the EU.

As noted, Turkey remains a country of strategic importance and a partner for the stability of the region and an ally, especially in the context of NATO, with whom the EU wishes to seek "the restoration of relations based on dialogue, respect and mutual trust".

The European Parliament, therefore, welcomes the statements made by the Turkish authorities at the highest level about the country's commitment to its European course, but urges the Turkish authorities "to put their words into action and demonstrate this commitment with specific facts and decisions".

The resolution adds that if conditions allow, the dialogue with the Turkish authorities should continue on the basis of the European Council's position to engage with the country in a gradual, proportionate and reversible manner.

In relation to the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, the European Parliament notes the recent reduction in tensions but also the need to address the problems that remain unresolved. It calls on Turkey and all parties involved to show a collective willingness to negotiate EEZ boundaries, and in this context condemns the harassment by Turkish warships of research vessels carrying out work in the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus, as well as violations of Greek airspace. The Parliament reiterates its full solidarity with Cyprus and Greece and stresses that Cyprus has the right to exploit its natural resources on the basis of international law while calling on Turkey to accept that the Republic of Cyprus has the right to use its natural resources.

The European Parliament also regrets that the conflict in Cyprus remains unresolved and reaffirms its position that the only viable solution is a just, comprehensive and viable settlement based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with a single international legal personality and political equality and deplores that Turkey has abandoned this UN framework.

The resolution calls on Turkey to abandon its "unacceptable proposal" for a two-state solution, to avoid new actions that deepen division and change demographic balances, condemns the violation of UNSC resolutions on the return of the Varosha, and calls on Turkey to return to the Cyprus negotiations from when they were abandoned in 2017.

It also calls on Turkey to give the TC community "the necessary space to behave in accordance with its role as a legitimate community of the island" which is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus and calls on the Commission to strengthen cooperation efforts with the TC community given that its place is in the EU while highlighting that the Republic of Cyprus is responsible for stepping up its efforts to facilitate the engagement of Turkish Cypriots with the EU.

At the same time, it is noted that the Parliament supports the Commission's proposal to upgrade the Customs Union, noting however that this requires the full implementation of the current Customs Union for all Member States without discrimination.

At the same time, it welcomes Turkey's efforts in hosting refugees and welcomes the continuation of EU funding for refugees and host communities.

In particular, with regard to Cyprus, it notes the increase in asylum applications in Cyprus in 2021 and recalls Turkey's obligation “to take any necessary measures to prevent the creation of new sea or land routes for illegal migration from Turkey to the EU”.

Cyprus  |  Turkey

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