EU Recommends Opening Negotiations with Ukraine
European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen announced the report. The report adopts the 2023 Enlargement package, recommending opening negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova and granting candidate status to Georgia.
The commission’s report includes some remarks about Turkiye. The commission states that Turkiye is an active and significant actor in the area of foreign policy, which constitutes an essential element in the context of the EU-Turkiye relationship. The report criticises Turkiye as “Turkiye’s unilateral foreign policy remained at odds with the EU’s priorities under the common foreign and security policy (CFSP). Turkiye maintained a very low alignment rate of 10 per cent with the EU stance on foreign and security policy (as of August 2023), compared to 8 per cent in 2022.”
The report indicates that Turkiye’s rhetoric “in support of terrorist group Hamas following its attacks against Israel on 7 October 2023 is in complete disagreement with the EU approach.”
Taking the Ukrainian-Russian war, the report indicates that Turkiye condemned the Russian military attack, including at the UN General Assembly, and engaged politically and diplomatically,
including by facilitating the export of Ukrainian grain and the exchange of prisoners. The UN- and Russia terminated the Turkiye-brokered Black Sea Grain in July 2023. Turkiye also sought to facilitate talks between Ukraine and Russia and to work on de-escalation and bringing about a cease-fire, the report says in sum. It, however, criticises Turkiye for refraining from aligning itself with the EU’s restrictive measures against Russia.
The report states that Turkiye implemented, in March 2023, a ban on exporting to Russia-sanctioned goods originating from the EU, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The report states that the ban targeted goods that were in transit stored in warehouses or located within free zones in Turkiye, and critics that the potential transportation of dual-use and sensitive technology goods, as well as the unrestricted movement of sanctioned goods from Turkiye to Russia still need to be addressed.
The report indicates that Turkiye intensified its ‘regional normalisation’ policy with the Arab states, with Armenia and with Israel. It underlines, however, that Turkiye refrained from condemning and qualifying HAMAS’ actions as terrorism and strongly criticised Israel’s response. The report, conversely, indicates that Turkiye aligns with the EU’s position supporting the two-state solution to the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP).
The report says in sum that Turkiye’s rapprochement with the Syrian regime, brokered by Russia, occurred despite the lack of a political resolution to the Syrian conflict and is at odds with the EU’s policy. At the same time, however, Turkiye shared a common goal with the EU to achieve a stable and prosperous Syria, primarily by implementing UNSCR 2254.
The report states that Turkiye continued to seek involvement in the common security and defence policy (CSDP) and EU defence initiatives while persisting in excluding a Member State from all possible cooperation with NATO. The report acknowledges that Turkiye remained actively involved in EU crisis management missions and operations within the framework of the CSDP. It reminds that in March 2023, the Turkish National Assembly (TBMM) approved Finland’s NATO accession, and during the NATO summit in July 2023, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pledged to promptly submit Sweden’s accession protocol to the Turkish Parliament for ratification. The president submitted the bill for ratification to the Parliament on 23 October 2023.
The report criticises Turkiye for not recognising the “Republic of Cyprus”, a problem that the EU imported even though it was not solved.
Regarding the Turkish-Greek relations, the report states that it was deteriorated until early 2023. It says that following the earthquakes in Turkiye in February 2023, there was a marked improvement in the relations.