EU ready to re-engage with Turkey, conditions laid

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union should re-engage with Turkey, the bloc’s foreign ministers have said, while laying down some conditions and giving Ankara no chances on EU accession.

Turkey’s EU membership discussions have been stalled for years, in the global context of heightened tensions between Ankara and the bloc that began in 2005 during Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s first term as prime minister.

However, the Turkish president felt earlier in the month that the European Union would have to pave the way for Turkey’s entry into the bloc before the Turkish parliament could approve Sweden’s joining of NATO.

“We discussed how to re-engage with Turkey,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

“We are convinced that Turkey and the European Union have a mutual interest in developing solid relations.”

However, Josep Borrell emphasized that the EU would like to see Turkey work towards resolving the Cyprus issue.

Cyprus, an EU member state, has been divided since 1974 between the Greek part recognized by the EU and the Turkish part not recognized by the international community, except for Ankara.

“It will also be necessary to respect fundamental freedoms and values ​​as defined by the European Convention on Human Rights, of which Ankara is a part,” said Josep Borrell.

(Reporting by Jan Strupzewski and Andrew Gray; French edition by Camille Renaud)

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