No: 225, 2 October 2020, Press Release Regarding the Conclusions Concerning Turkey Adopted at the Special European Council Meeting

Conclusions adopted at the Special European Council Meeting yesterday (1 October) regarding Turkey, even with certain positive elements, are far from reality in most aspects.

The text is an evidence of how certain EU countries aim to further relations with Turkey on the one hand and how the Greek-Greek Cypriot duo takes Turkey-EU relations hostage on the other.

The reference made on the text to the decision of resuming the Exploratory Talks with Greece is positive. However, these talks are aimed towards the resolution of all outstanding issues between Turkey and Greece, and are not limited to delimitation of maritime jurisdiction areas.

The fact that there is yet no reference to the Turkish Cypriots and no mention of a fair revenue sharing regarding hydrocarbon resources between the two sides in the Summit conclusions demonstrates that the EU’s stance of ignoring the Turkish Cypriots continues.

As we have repeatedly explained it, until a settlement is found to the Cyprus issue, the counterpart of the Greek Cypriots is the Turkish Cypriots, not Turkey. Turkey, in the absence of Turkish Cypriots, will never negotiate maritime delimitation with the Greek Cypriot Administration (GCA) that does not represent the Turkish Cypriots. This could be only possible following the settlement of the Cyprus issue.

That is why, the EU should not call upon Turkey but the Greek Cypriots to talk with the Turkish Cypriots. Because the two sides on the Island should be brought together as soon as possible to coordinate their respective hydrocarbon activities and to establish a cooperation mechanism, including fair revenue sharing. Unless this is provided, the Turkish Cypriot side will continue its hydrocarbon activities through the Turkish Petroleum.

It is understood that the EU's language on the settlement of the Cyprus issue in the Summit conclusions is dictated by the Greek Cypriot Administration, thus completely ignoring the years 2004 and 2017. However, the GCA has no intention to share either power or wealth with the Turkish Cypriots. It is also impossible for the EU to state this fact due to the membership of the GCA. Therefore, the EU cannot play an honest and impartial role in the settlement of the Cyprus issue.

It is also not a constructive discourse to continue to characterize the steps taken by Turkey to defend both its rights and those of the Turkish Cypriots as illegal and to use sanction rhetoric in the Summit conclusions. The EU should already comprehend that this rhetoric can lead nowhere.

The reference made in the conclusions of the Meeting to the convening of an Eastern Mediterranean Conference is positive, which is actually a proposal of H.E. President Erdoğan.

In any case, we welcome the fact that our calls towards the resolution of issues in the region through dialogue and diplomacy by protecting the rights and interests of Turkey and the TRNC, found a response, albeit partially, in the conclusions of the Meeting.

We sincerely desire furthering our relations with the EU in every field and in a way serving our common interests with the perspective of membership. We have always been on the side of de-escalation and dialogue. We have responded positively to calls to this end, demonstrated our good faith and provided full support to the parties making an effort for dialogue. It is now time to take reciprocal steps in order to achieve concrete results. We will expect the steps pledged in the conclusions to materialize, including visa liberalization.

Turkey maintains her will and determination to further her EU accession process and to solve issues through negotiations with an agenda of a common future and in a spirit of mutual respect and trust, rather than being drifted along the lines of bilateral issues and narrow-minded interests as well as blindly-extended membership solidarity.