Source: Dursun Aydemir/ Anadolu Agency

While the subject of sanction to Turkey was not on the agenda at the summit, in the final declaration published after the summit, emphasis was placed on Turkey about the Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus issue, refugees, and fundamental rights. The Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the following statement for the declaration of the EU Leaders Summit: “We welcome the discourse tried to be reflected in the Summit Declaration and the effort put forward on the basis for the positive advancement of EU-Turkey relations”. In addition, the Ministry remarked that although the necessity of the positive agenda is emphasized in the evaluation part of the “Between Turkey and the EU’s political, economic, and trade relations status” report, it is written from a one-way perspective to Turkey-EU relations and influenced by the narrow-minded ideas of several member states.

  • The pre-summit meeting of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen, as well as Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s meeting with Josep Borrell, high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy, were positive signs indicating that areas of cooperation would be highlighted in bilateral relations, as well as areas of conflict.

In the statement, which had emphasized that taking concrete and constructive steps by the EU on the basis of a positive agenda was a legitimate expectation of Turkey, continues: “We hope that binding these steps to the conditions in the summit declaration, addressing only certain areas and postponing them until June will not cause the loss of the positive momentum”.

The statement specified that Turkey will also continue its efforts for solutions to regional crises such as Libya, Syria, and the South Caucasus, and cooperation with the EU on these issues will contribute to the strengthening of regional peace and stability. In this respect, it was stated that they favor the immediate initiation of high-level dialogues not only in regional issues and health, but also in areas such as economy, energy, transportation, fight against terrorism, migration management, and visa liberalization.

Apart from all the concerns that exist in Europe about democracy, law, and fundamental rights in Turkey, EU leaders have decided to take steps to encourage Turkey in a positive way due to decreasing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. Also, in the final declaration published after the summit, EU leaders stated that it is in the strategic interest of the EU to advance cooperation with Turkey on a stable and secure Eastern Mediterranean and expressed that they “Welcome the resumption of bilateral talks between Greece and Turkey and the discontinuation of unlawful drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean”.

While the EU is calling for improvement especially in some subjects, fundamental rights violations in Turkey, political oppression, and finally invalidation of the Istanbul Convention have gotten adverse reactions across Europe and the western world in general.

In addition, names such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya in their statements before the summit, made some negative criticism for some of the decisions taken in Turkey’s domestic politics, however, they also mentioned the necessity to focus especially on areas of cooperation between the EU and Turkey.

When the published result declaration is examined, within the scope of EU-Turkey relations seems that the most prominent issues are the Eastern Mediterranean, the refugee problem, and the updating of the Customs Union. The report also includes some statements on the subjects EU is currently ready for talks with Turkey, such as public health, climate, counter-terrorism, and regional issues.

Note: This analysis translated by using the data from and

Disclaimer. The views and opinions expressed in this analysis are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of MEPEI. Any content provided by our authors is of their opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.

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About the author:

Ms. Erva Nur KÖK

Ms. Erva Nur KÖK, Intern research at MEPEI, is a final year student at the International Relations Department at Eskişehir Osmangazi University, Turkey. Erva’s academic interests are the Middle East region, war studies, human rights, and international law. She wants to study for a master's degree in the field of International Law and Human rights. She is a junior researcher at the Middle East Research Center of Ariel University. Erva has also been writing and managing EU projects for a few years, performing volunteer works at various foundations and associations.

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