After months of tensions, will relations between Ankara and Brussels be able to start again in a better light? At least, this is the objective set by the leaders of the European Union who are expected in Turkey on Tuesday. They will thus be able to verify the veracity of the recent Turkish promise to promote a “positive agenda”.
The President of the Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, are due to present during this visit to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the modalities for the gradual resumption of economic relations and discuss support for the refugees settled in his country. country.
Turkish officials are currently increasing calls for dialogue with Europeans to settle sensitive issues, which, in addition to the Greek-Turkish maritime dispute in the eastern Mediterranean, relate in particular to the role of Turkey in the conflicts in Syria, Libya and more recently. in Nagorno Karabakh. But European leaders have called for “credible gestures” and “lasting efforts” from Ankara and placed it under surveillance until June while waving the threat of sanctions. In particular, they asked the Turkish president for acts to demonstrate his desire for appeasement, in particular in connection with his litigation vis-à-vis Greece and Cyprus, the withdrawal of his troops from Libya and respect for fundamental rights in his country.
Probable change of tone from Washington
The policy of appeasement recently pursued by Turkey comes as Ankara worries about a possible American hardening towards it, with the new Democratic administration in Washington. As an encouragement to Turkey, the EU said it was ready to initiate the modernization of the Customs Union, to resume the high-level dialogue suspended in 2019 on certain subjects such as security, the environment or health. , and to grant certain visa facilities for Turkish nationals.
Tuesday’s visit, however, comes shortly after Turkey’s controversial withdrawal from a treaty to combat violence against women and the launch of legal proceedings to ban the pro-Kurdish party HDP, the country’s third largest political party. .