Türkiye-AB Siyasi Diyalog Toplantısı
To Re-energise strategic cooperation between the EU and Turkey
“We are re-launching, re-energising and revitalising our strategic cooperation into a broader cooperation because the relations between the European Union and Turkey in these months have been seen mainly through the angle of our common concern for the refugees that we have to protect and host and also our concern about the management of the flow in a coordinated way,” she said after the meeting she had, together with Commissioners Hahn and Stylianides, with the Turkish minister for Foreign affairs Cavasoglu and for European affairs Bozkir.
On the refugee issue, the two sides agreed that the Action Plan on Migration and Refugees adopted at the end of last year must be fully implemented.
“We agreed to strengthen our constant work in this respect, so that actions are coordinated, consistent, coherent – that what we have agreed upon delivers for the benefit of first the refugees and the migrants, because our first priority is always saving lives and preventing the smuggling organisations and the criminal networks to make profit out of people’s desperation, but also that we make this management of the flows sustainable both for Turkey and the European Union,” Mogherini said.
“But the relations between the European Union and Turkey go far beyond this single very important, but still single point of the agenda”, she underlined. First of all there is the developing broader picture of the bilateral relations.
“As the European Union, we value as extremely important the role of the talks on accession in particular on the issues of rule of law, human rights, including freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, and the independence of judiciary. I know that the Turkish government has an ambitious reform agenda we value as extremely important that these issues are included and implemented on the way ahead”, she said
They also discussed the crisis in Syria, where there are hopes that intra-Syrian talks will start by the end of this month.
“This is going to be also the only real way of defeating Da’esh on the ground, guaranteeing the unity of the regional and international actors, allowing the unity of Syrian forces – a transition that could be inclusive – to have ceasefire and unite forces on the ground against Da’esh and al-Nusra.”
The Dialogue also looked at the situation in Iraq , and the need to support an inclusive approach by the government and to accompany the military operations against Da’esh in Iraq with a process that makes different religious groups feel ownership and that conditions are safe to live in their territories.
They also held a “very constructive” discussion on Libya, and the Middle East Peace Process, as well as cooperation on counter terrorism and the possible positive developments
on the Cyprus settlement.
They also shared concerns about the situation in the South East of Turkey.
“The European Union strongly condemns all forms of terrorist attacks, including by the PKK, but at the same time we call for an immediate ceasefire and the return to the Kurdish peace process which was launched in the past years with a brave, courageous vision by the Turkish authorities and that we believe is and stays as the only way for peace and stability in the country and also most likely in the region,” the High Representative concluded.
1) The High Representative for Foreign Affairs/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Ambassador Volkan Bozkır issued this statement following the EU-Turkey High Level Political Dialogue meeting held in Ankara on 25 January 2016.
2) The meeting of EU Heads of State or Government with Turkey on 29 November 2015 was a turning point in creating a new momentum in relations,including through a re-energized accession process. It recognized the importance of overcoming together the common challenges ahead as key partners and strategic allies in our region. To this end, today’s High Level Political Dialogue is an essential element of our overall framework of dialogue and cooperation. It provided us with the opportunity to discuss issues high on both of our agendas in a comprehensive manner and that will feed into the preparation of the next EU-Turkey Summit.
3) Accession negotiations remain the cornerstone of EU-Turkey relations. Based on the agreement to revitalize the accession process and following the opening of Chapter 17 on Economic and Monetary Policy on 14 December 2015, progress in the preparatory work by the Commission and the European External Action Service towards the opening of further chapters was reviewed.The commitment to complete this preparatory work on both sides in the first quarter of 2016 with a view to ensure the opening of these chapters was reiterated. In this regard, preparatory work could also subsequently begin on further chapters. The Turkish side attaches importance to close cooperation with the Commission in this respect.
4) The Turkish Government convened the Reform Action Group on 11 December 2015 and reiterated its determination to continue with the political reform process, including the reforms in the area of the rule of law and fundamental rights.Both sides underscore their commitmentto take the necessary steps with a view to completing visa-liberalization for Turkish citizens to the Schengen area by October 2016 subject to the fulfillment of the requirements of the Visa Liberalization Roadmap benchmarks vis-à-vis all participating Member States and the implementation of the Readmission Agreement, in the light of the presentation of the second progress report by the Commission by early March 2016.
5) Turkey and the EU believe that there is a need to exert huge effort to address the refugee crisis and irregular migration. They discussed the implementation of the Joint Action Plan which was activated at the 29 November EU-Turkey Summit. Measures by Turkey to further improve the socio-economic situation of Syrians under temporary protection, such as the adoption of legislation on granting them legal access to the labor market, were welcomed. Turkey exerts outstanding efforts so far to accommodate the more than two and a half million Syrians currently in Turkey. The need to achieve further results in stemming the influx of irregular migrants and in fighting criminal smuggling networks was underlined. Turkey and the EU agreed to step up their cooperation to reinforce the interception capacity of the Turkish Coast Guard and acknowledged the importance of maintaining a system of coordinated reporting on migration and refugee flows.
6) The EU confirmed its commitment to expand significantly its overall financial support by creating a EUR 3 billion Refugee Facility for Turkey. The need to finalize and swiftly move forward the implementation of the Refugee Facility in cooperation with Turkey, in line with the needs assessment, was underlined. Turkey and the EU underlined the need to cooperate on setting up resettlement programs and schemes in a spirit of burden sharing as indicated in the Action Plan and the EU-Turkey Summit Declaration.
7) Energy is a topic of key interest in EU-Turkey relations. Turkey stands out as a crucial partner for EU’s energy security and energy diversification. Both sides welcome the ongoing preparations for the High Level Energy Dialogue Meeting to be held on 28 January in Turkey and for the first High Level Economic Dialogue Meeting currently planned for April 2016.
8) Turkey and the EU underlined the need to continue making progress towards the upgrading of the Customs Union so as to enable formal negotiations to be launched by the end of 2016.
9) Turkey and the EU also exchanged views on the situation in Syria, Iraq and in Libya. Regarding a comprehensive and sustainable solution to the Syrian conflict, Turkey and the EU stressed the urgent need to reinitiate the political process leading to a peaceful, inclusive and genuine political transition. They reaffirmed our engagement with the political process on the basis of the Geneva Communique as expressed in the Vienna Statements and endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and reiterated our support for all the efforts towards achieving such political solution.
10) The EU welcomes Turkey’s important contributions to the EU operations and missions.
11) Turkey and the EU stand united against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and condemn the heinous terrorist attacks which have claimed innocent lives in Turkey, the Member States of the European Union, as well as in many other parts of the world. The fight against terrorism was recognized as a priority at the Turkey-EU Summit on 29 November, and they confirmed again their resolve to step up our efforts in this regard, and to work together to tackle the threat posed by DEASH. In this regard, EU welcomes Turkey’s decision to appoint a liaison officer to EUROPOL.
12) The EU also continues to be committed to fight against the presence in Europe of the PKK which is on the EU terrorist list with a view to preventing PKK terrorist attacks. The EU stressed the importance of an urgent return to the solution process and attaches the utmost importance to achieving a peaceful and sustainable solution for the benefit of all the people of Turkey.
13) Both sides welcomed the ongoing settlement talks in Cyprus and agreed that they will continue to give full and resolute support to the efforts of UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Mr. Espen Barth Eide towards achieving a comprehensive settlement.
14) Believing that the accession process constitutes the backbone of the relations, Turkey and the EU reiterated their determination to advance their comprehensive agenda to ensure that this fresh impetus yields concrete results.
15) Finally, the EU and Turkey agreed on a joint work plan for the next six months in order to maintain the new momentum and start the necessary preparations by holding a High-Level Political Dialogue prior to the second Turkey-EU Summit.
Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini
Ankara, 25 January 2016
Thank you very much. It is a pleasure to be back in Ankara for this High-Level Dialogue. I remember very well that in this very same room in December 2014, together with my friend Commissioner Hahn, we were saying that the relations between the European Union and Turkey with the new Commission on the European side coming into office needed to be revitalised and we had a lot of work ahead of us because regional, global and also local challenges needed a stronger cooperation between the European Union and Turkey that is not only an accession country, but also a very important global partner for the EU.
So, for me, for us this High-Level Dialogue is somehow a way of restarting from there, knowing that in between we had also a successful High-Level Dialogue last year in May in Brussels. And then obviously the summit in November, so Prime Minister Davutoğlu meeting all the Heads of State and Government of the European Union together with President Tusk and President Juncker.
This is to frame the fact that we are re-launching, re-energising and revitalising our strategic cooperation into a broader cooperation because the relations between the European Union and Turkey in these months have been seen mainly through the angle of our common concern for the refugees that we have to protect and host and also our concern about the management of the flow in an ordinated and coordinated way.
But the relations between the European Union and Turkey go far beyond this single very important, but still single point of the agenda and this is the perfect occasion to tackle all the issues we have to which I will come. But first let me say few words on migration and refugees:
We agreed to strengthen our constant work in this respect, so that actions are coordinated, consistent, coherent – that what we have agreed upon delivers for the benefit of first the refugees and the migrants, because our first priority is always saving lives and preventing the smuggling organisations and the criminal networks to make profit out of people desperation, but also that we make this management of the flows sustainable both for Turkey and the European Union.
But let me say that again: This is not the only point on our agenda. On the contrary, we have very significant issues. We have to work on it together in a better coordinated way, starting from the regional dynamics that are probably the most dangerous, the most problematic and the most terrible dynamics that the world is facing today. We are right at the centre of the most complicated setting on the global stage.
Starting from Syria, where we sit together in the International Support Group, trying to have the intra-Syrian talks starting hopefully by the end of this month. It is extremely important for us to have the transition process started in parallel with better humanitarian conditions on the ground. We have to make sure that Syrian people face better situation on the ground. The humanitarian work that the European Union is doing together with the implementation of confidence building measures is going to be key to make the process credible and to protect the life of so many Syrians.
This is going to be also the only real way of defeating Da’esh on the ground, guaranteeing the unity of the regional and international actors, allowing the unity of Syrian forces – a transition that could be inclusive – to have cease fire and unite forces on the ground against Da’esh and al-Nusra.
We also discussed the situation in Iraq , with the need to support an inclusive approach by the government and to accompany the military operations against Da’esh in Iraq with a process that makes in particular the Sunnite communities but also the Christians and the Yazidis fully in the picture and feeling an ownership and safe conditions for living in their territories. This is extremely important also for us in Europe as the plurality and co-existence in the wider Middle East is, I think, one of the few signs of hope that we need to preserve also for the future generations.
We had also a long and very constructive discussion on Libya. We are also partners in trying to bring stability to the country, with the important process that the Libyans had started, forming a government of national accord. We both had the chance of meeting Prime Minister Designate Sarraj recently, in Ankara in your case, in Tunis in mine. And we are united, I think, in providing the government of national accord, once endorsed by the House of Representatives in Libya, all the support it needs to operate as a government in Libya, for the sake of the Libyan citizens, for the sake of security in the region and also for the sake of the fight against Da’esh in that territory.
We also discuss about the Israel -Palestine conflict, normally we refer to this as the Middle East Peace Process. We actually discussed about the lack of Middle East Peace Process and the common efforts we can have to revitalise it. We also discussed our cooperation on counter terrorism, in particular when it comes to the fight against Da’esh that as recent attacks both in Istanbul, in Ankara, in Europe have clearly highlighted is a common priority, a common threat.
We also discussed our bilateral relations, starting from the opportunities we have, the opportunities for sure to advance on accession talks and negotiations. I will leave this to Commissioner Hahn more in details, but just to stress that in the European Union we value as extremely important the role of the talks on accession in particular on the issues of rule of law, human rights, including freedom of expression and freedom assembly, and the independence of judiciary. I know that the Turkish government has an ambitious reform agenda we value as extremely important that these issues are included and implemented on the way ahead.
We also discussed our economic cooperation. There is going to be a high level economic dialogue with a large presence of the Commission in the coming months. And our energy cooperation which is of strategic importance for both of us especially in these tense times, in this tense region. And an energy high level dialogue is going to happen later this week with Commissioner Cañete visiting the country.
We also touched upon the positive development that hopefully we could expect in the region, a positive development on the Cyprus settlement – I believe we share an interest to have a comprehensive settlement happening as soon as possible.
The key point for us is that the Action Plan on Migration and Refugees that we agreed upon at the end of last year is fully implemented. On the European Union side this means that we have to better support Turkey in the incredible work it is doing to host and protect an enormous number of refugees. On the Turkish side it means that the management of the flows of refugees but also of irregular migrants has to be done in a better way.
And we also shared our worries about the situation, the internal situation in the South East of Turkey; this is something on which we will discuss more during the continuation of our talks. The European Union strongly condemns all forms of terrorist attacks, including by the PKK, but at the same time we call for an immediate ceasefire and the return to the Kurdish peace process which was launched in the past years with a brave, courageous vision by the Turkish authorities and that we believe is and stays as the only way for peace and stability in the country and also most likely in the region. I thank you. [Video]
Filed under: Avrupa Birliği, Barış Süreci/Peace Process, Cyprus, Dışişleri Bakanlığı-MFA, Energy Issiues, European Union/Avrupa Birliği, Immigration, Israel-İsrail, Orta Doğu, Suriye/Syria/Syrie, Temel Hak ve Özgürlükler/Fundamental Rights, Terörle Mücadele, Terrorism | Tagged: 29 November EU-Turkey Summit, Chapter 17 on Economic and Monetary Policy, Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, Da’esh and al-Nusra, EU-Turkey Summit, EU-Turkey Summit Declaration, EU’s energy security and energy diversification., European External Action Service, High Level Political Dialogue with Turkey, High Representative Federica Mogherini, Kurdish peace process, Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Ambassador Volkan Bozkır, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Readmission Agreement, Refugee Facility for Turkey, Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide, Strategic cooperation between the EU and Turkey, Turkish Coast Guard, Visa Liberalization Roadmap |