Lajcak: EU-Turkey Relations Unsatisfactory

Lajcak: EU-Turkey Relations Unsatisfactory

Brussels, November 14 (TASR-correspondent) – Current relations between the EU and Turkey aren’t satisfactory, with the two sides frustrated with each other, said Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday.

“On one hand, the EU can’t tolerate blatant deviations from European rules and values concerning fundamental liberties, while on the other, we feel strongly about having good relations with Turkey – it’s a candidate country,” said Lajcak, adding that the EU foreign ministers predominantly concurred that there’s a need to maintain quality relations with Ankara, with open communication being a fundamental component. The EU wants to see relations returning to the level seen before the coup attempt in Turkey in July, said Lajcak.

The EU ministers also discussed the EU’s Eastern Partnership (with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), with the introduction of visa-free arrangements for citizens of Georgia and Ukraine in view. In addition, there’s a need to define what to offer countries that have already achieved everything offered by the programme – an association treaty, economic integration and visa-free arrangements, pondered the Slovak minister.

At the same time the EU ministers commissioned High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini to launch talks with Azerbaijan on a general treaty to replace an agreement from 1996. An EU summit featuring the six aforementioned countries is scheduled to take place in Brussels next year.

When it came to Syria, the ministers noted that it will be a few months before the new US administration assumes power, so this creates scope for the EU to be more actively involved in resolving the conflict in Syria, said Lajcak.

Meanwhile, the EU has decided to put 17 Syrian government ministers and the central bank governor on the EU sanction list, which currently includes 234 people and 69 companies.