VARNA, Bulgaria – The climate that will prevail at the meeting of the European Union leadership, namely Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, with the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, today in Varna, Bulgaria, remains the great unknown.
This is because, while European leaders are going to move a little bit further in the line of decisions at the Summit, no one is able to predict the positions that the Turkish President will come to.
The European Council sent a strong warning to Ankara that, in order to make progress in its relations with the EU, it must first of all prove that it respects international law. European leaders voiced concern over the Turkish invasion of Syria in Afrin, condemning Turkey’s unlawful acts in Cyprus and the Aegean, while making explicit reference to the detention of the two Greek soldiers by demanding their release.
“The language with which the conclusions of the Turkish summit on Thursday evening are one of the most aggressive and sharp in the history of Euro-Turkish relations,” commented a European official speaking in the REA-ICP.
However, although many believed that these conclusions could blow the Varna Summit in the air, Ankara avoided it. The Turkish President, Erdogan, reacted in equally tough language, accusing Europe of drawing up with the Greeks and Cypriots, but he avoided interrupting the prospect of a dialogue with the EU that opens at the Varna meeting.
But the same thing applies to the EU. “Despite the problems and difficulties, the Session in Varna had to be done, because it sets the only framework for not completely breaking off relations with Turkey,” a European official told ANA-MPA. This is because, as he explained, Europe only through dialogue with Ankara can serve two of its key strategic interests: Turkey’s co-operation in refugee and counter-terrorism.
It should also be forgotten that the EU will offer to Varna another 3 billion euros for Syrian refugees in Turkey. This is the second package of EUR 3 billion, as provided for in the EU-Turkey declaration, which is not given directly to Ankara but to organizations such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) who manage the diet, housing and medical treatment of refugees.
However, it is not yet clear what will happen tomorrow in Varna. The meeting “will not be easy” as foreseen two days ago by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, while Mr. Juncker said he is going to Varna with “mixed feelings”. The President of the Commission explained that the problems with Turkey are growing, but there is a “sincere” and “open” dialogue between the two sides, which needs to be continued. The fact, however, that this meeting takes place at the highest political level is positive and is of great importance, comment analysts.
Translated from Crash Magazine Online.