Merkel says not enough progress in EU-Turkey relations

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said The European Union and Turkey have not made enough progress in enhancing their relations.

Merkel highlighted Turkish activities in the eastern Mediterranean, where the country is exploring for hydrocarbons in waters claimed by Greece and Cyprus, as a major obstacle hindering better bilateral ties with the EU.

Turkey’s activities are “very aggressive” or even “provocative”, Merkel told a virtual gathering of European affairs committees on Monday, Kathimerini newspaper reported.

She welcomed the announcement by Turkey this week of the return to port of its seismic research vessel Oruc Reis ahead of an EU summit in mid-December, Kathimerini said.

Merkel said, however, that Turkey was still carrying out seismic exploration off Cyprus.

European Union leaders will discuss possible sanctions against Turkey at the summit starting on Dec.10. 

Merkel said that the Turkish government deserves "great respect" and support for hosting large numbers of Syrian refugees, Kathimerini said.