The final declaration, published at the end of the joint ministerial meeting between Germany and France held the day before by videoconference, contains important signals in terms of relations with Turkey. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, who attended for the 22nd and last time the Joint Council of Ministers with the participation of 14 ministers from the two countries, once again confirmed that a mutually beneficial cooperative relationship with the Turkey are in the strategic interest of Paris and Berlin. The strengthening of cooperation was again linked to the permanent de-escalation of tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.
62 ARTICLE NOTICE
In the 62-point declaration signed by the leaders of the two countries, concerning Turkey, “We reaffirm that mutually beneficial cooperation relations with Turkey are in our strategic interest, provided that the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean is durably reduced and that ‘it contributes constructively to the resolution of regional crises, and We are ready to strengthen our cooperation with the spirit. In the declaration, all relevant actors in the Eastern Mediterranean were encouraged to contribute to the permanent solution of the outstanding issues.
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The fact that the subject of Turkey is included in the joint declaration and that this is done in a contingent way but with a predominantly positive side shows the importance that Berlin and Paris attach to relations with Turkey. It should be noted that this declaration came at a time when Brussels was reviewing in depth its relations with Ankara. The weak link in the paragraph on Turkey is that the two countries do not highlight interest-based cooperation and do not refer to the European Union (EU) process and clearly show that they give priority to the Balkans Westerners in this regard. The emphasis in the final declaration also represents the common view of most EU countries.
HE WILL BE TRAINED AT THE SUMMITS
The next three weeks are of great importance in shaping Turkey’s relations with the EU. The NATO summit to be held in Brussels on June 14 will be the meeting point where the first clear signals will come. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s contacts, in particular with US President Joe Biden and Greek Prime Minister Kiriakos Mitsotakis, have the potential to affect not only bilateral relations but also the EU process. Relations with Turkey will also be high on the agenda for Biden’s summit with EU leaders on June 15. The EU does not hide its desire to act in coordination with the United States on relations with Turkey. The most important meeting for the future of relations will be the European summit on 24 and 25 June. Turkey continues to hope that this meeting will take decisions that will move relations forward in accordance with the positive spirit of the agenda. Ankara’s main demand for the EU is to take concrete steps to update the Customs Union.
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While the absence of tension in the Eastern Mediterranean for months strengthened Turkey’s hand in the critical process, the results of Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s contacts in Athens were hailed in Brussels. If this atmosphere is maintained at leadership level after two weeks, it is seen as a positive contribution to the EU summit. The Cyprus issue, on the other hand, continues to be the most important issue on the Brussels-Ankara line due to the stalling of the resolution process, the serious divergences of approach of the parties on the issue and the fact that the administration will almost certainly cause problems at the top of the EU.