EU-Turkey separation widening, relations approaching breaking point – Borrell

Turkey’s rhetoric on Cyprus and behaviour in the eastern Mediterranean is widening its separation from the European Union, and relations between the two are fast approaching a turning point, EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters following a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Thursday.

“Time is running, and we are approaching a watershed moment in our relationship with Turkey,” Reuters cited Borrell as saying.

The Turkish side needs to show “a fundamental change of attitude,” in order to “return to a positive agenda, as we wish,” Borrell said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan this week called for a two-state solution in Cyprus, which has been divided since 1974 into Cypriot Turks in the northern third with an unrecognised breakaway state and Cypriot Greeks in the southern two-thirds who are recognised as the EU member state Republic of Cyprus.

An EU leaders’ summit scheduled for Dec. 10 will determine the direction the relations proceed in, Borrell said.

In the summit the leaders will be discussing whether to impose sanctions on Turkey over its efforts in the eastern Mediterranean, where Turkish vessels accompanied by warships explored for hydrocarbons in what is internationally recognised as territorial waters of Greece and Cyprus.

Greece and Cyprus are in favour of sanctions, but Germany wants to give dialogue another chance because of close trade ties between the EU and Turkey. Earlier in November, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg called for the termination of the already-frozen accession talks for the candidate country.


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