The EU says it wants better relations with Ankara as top officials meet with the Turkish president, but human rights are being described as a “priority”.
The top two EU officials have expressed “deep concern” over Turkey’s human rights record and expressed hope for a stronger relationship during their first meeting in a year with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The talks in the capital, Ankara, on Tuesday began with talks on Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention on the Elimination of Violence against Women and the launch of a formal effort to close the country. The main Kurdish side.
“Respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights are core values of the European Union and we share our deepest concerns with President Erdogan about the latest developments with Turkey in this regard,” European Council President Charles Michel said after about three hours of talks. Erdogan.
Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said human rights issues were an “important” factor for Turkey-EU development, as Ankara and Brussels saw a possible warmth in relations in the wake of the two sides’ compromise steps in recent weeks.
“Human rights issues are not a matter for discussion, they are an absolute priority … we were very clear about that,” said Von der Lane.
“I am deeply concerned about the country from which Turkey has moved Istanbul Convention. It’s about protecting women and protecting children against violence, and right now it’s clearly the wrong signal.
“Turkey must respect international human rights norms and standards, as the country has committed itself to as a founding member of the Council of Europe.”
Erdogan did not speak to reporters, but his office issued a statement confirming Turkey’s position that they wanted the EU to “take concrete steps to support a positive agenda.”
“The ultimate goal of Turkey’s decade-long EU process is full membership,” Erdogan’s office said in the context of the decades-long association talks.
Turkey is officially a candidate for EU membership, but the bid to join the 227-nation bloc has stalled.
In recent weeks, Erdogan has taken steps to boost ties with Brussels, and EU leaders have agreed to increase trade and co-operate with Turkey on immigration issues.
The move comes amid growing tensions over Turkey’s decision to stop deporting migrants and refugees. Beyond its borders Research ships from Greece and Turkey have been sent to the seas to demand Greece and Cyprus.
Von der Lane said on Tuesday that the European Commission would soon offer assistance to Turkey on spending money on migrants and refugees, adding that Europe wanted “better relations” with Ankara but that it was “still in the early stages”.
He added that Ankara’s allegiance a 2016 Migration Agreement – which calls on Turkey to refrain from trying to reach refugees and migrants in Europe in exchange for refugee assistance and other conditions – this will be a “major demonstration of goodwill”.
Von der Lane said the commission would soon make a proposal that would reflect policies, including Turkey’s commitment to better opportunities for migrants and refugees and to prevent irregular departures.
“I am very committed to ensuring the continuity of European funding,” he added.
EU leaders said last month that the bloc was “ready to engage with Turkey to increase cooperation in a number of areas of common interest, in a phased, proportional and reciprocal manner”.
The leaders tasked the European Union’s executive commission with trying to draft a 2019 EU-Turkey agreement that would significantly reduce the number of asylum seekers on the Greek islands off Turkey’s west coast.
Under the agreement, the EU offered Ankara six billion euros (7.1bn) to provide an estimated four million Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey and other incentives to prevent Turkey from moving to Europe.