EU summit will be key moment for relations with Turkey - EU envoy

A European Union summit in June will mark an important moment for Turkey’s future relations with the bloc, said Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, the head of the EU delegation to Turkey.

“If the heads of member states consider the environment positive, they will make a positive decision for the continuation of the EU-Turkey relations,” Meyer-Landrut said during a visit to Turkey’s southern Şanlıurfa province, the Hürriyet newspaper reported on Tuesday.

“There is still a need to work in order for positive results to be possible,” he said.

Europe’s leaders will meet on June 24 for a two-day European Council summit in Brussels.

Political tensions between Turkey and the EU intensified last year due to a row between Turkey and EU member states Greece and Cyprus over maritime boundaries and access to hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean.

Brussels threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey over the issue in December. However, following a charm offensive led by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, EU leaders rowed back on the measures.

At a European Council meeting in March, the EU said it was “ready to engage with Turkey in a phased, proportionate and reversible manner, provided that the current de-escalation is sustained and that Turkey engages constructively”.

Meyer-Landrut said that there was still one more month to go until the summit. A month is considered a long time in politics to achieve such positive results, he said.

“The meeting will mark a very important moment for the future development and improvement of EU-Turkey relations. I hope that we will be in an environment that is conducive to positive decisions,” he said.

The European Council is expecting a sustained de-escalation in the eastern Mediterranean and cooperation in solving the conflicts in Libya and Syria, Meyer-Landrut said.

An improvement in human rights and the rule of law in Turkey are the other key expectations of the bloc, he said.