UK panel discuss future of EU-Turkey relations

Turkey-EU relationship can move forward with the positive momentum gained within the past months, an online panel heard Thursday.

An online webinar organized by the Circle Foundation discussed the future of relations between Turkey, a candidate for EU membership and the bloc under the light of the latest positive developments.

Turkish Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Director for EU Affairs Ambassador Faruk Kaymakci said the EU fell short in understanding some issues Turkey has been raising.

In the terrorism issue, Kaymakci said, the EU side only concentrates on Daesh-ISIS in cooperation against terrorism, but “it does not act accordingly” when it comes to PKK/YPG and Feto terrorist organizations.

Also touching on EU promise that is tied to a 2016 refugee deal between the sides, he said the visa-free travel had not been materialized.

He said visa-free travel would create opportunities.

Kaymakci said that Turkey is currently hosting 4.2 million migrants and the EU is only interested in migration management, but it has not fully fulfilled its financial promises for Syrian people hosted by Turkey.

EU also failed short in cooperation in northern Syria, criticizing Turkey’s operations in the region that helped Syrians to go back to settle down in their own country, according to Kaymakci.

Also attending the webinar, Director for External Relations at European Commission’s Secretariat General Michael Karnitschnig said, “Turkey and the EU need to focus on pragmatic, hands-on solutions.”

Praising the latest interaction between the EU and the Turkish government, Karnitschnig said Turkey’s EU membership talks are stalled, but “there is a current positive momentum.”

The EU-Turley relations have found new momentum with a new initiative to restart engagement after months of tension between the parties due to various issues, including eastern Mediterranean oil and gas exploration rights and the Cyprus question.

Sweden’s former Turkey Ambassador Michael Sahlin, Visiting Professor at the College of Europe Dr. Emiliano Alessandri and Assoc. Prof Cigdem Nas were the other panelists who attended the webinar.

The webinar is the first of three organized by the Circle Foundation, a non-profit London-based NGO aiming to create opportunities for the Turkish diaspora.

Source: Anadolu Agency