Duvar English / Reuters
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that last week's European Union summit decisions were not sufficient to overcome problems in relations between Ankara and the block, his office said on Oct. 6.'Ankara unswayed over EU sanctions on Eastern Mediterranean'
The Turkish presidency said Erdoğan spoke to Merkel by video conference and told her that “the EU had succumbed to pressure and blackmail from Greek Cypriots and Greece despite Turkey's good faith."
Tensions between the EU and Ankara had eased in recent weeks as Turkey and EU member Greece agreed to hold exploratory talks to solve several longstanding disputes, including a standoff over maritime claims in the eastern Mediterranean.
Last week, EU leaders assuaged concerns raised by Cyprus, which had been pushing for sanctions on Ankara, by assuring it that the bloc would punish Turkey if it continues oil and gas drilling in disputed areas of the eastern Mediterranean.EU says presidential system hampers democracy in Turkey, membership talks at 'standstill'
However Turkey's relations with the EU appeared to take a turn for the worse on Oct. 6, as Ankara voiced dissatisfaction with the result of last week's EU summit and the bloc said the country's bid for membership was evaporating.
Tensions were further stoked on the island of Cyprus on Tuesday when Erdoğan and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar announced the reopening of a beach in the abandoned town of Varosha in northern Cyprus.
The move is likely to anger Greek Cypriots, 39,000 of whom once lived in Varosha before fleeing advancing Turkish forces 46 years ago during a Turkish invasion that split the island.
Announcing the move, Erdoğan accused the EU of stalling Turkey's membership bid for years and said the same had occurred during last week's summit.
"We know this will disturb a lot of places but some people have to know that it was the Turkish Cypriots who were patient until today," he told a news conference.
Turkey began negotiations in 2005 to join the EU but they have long been stalled amid disagreements over human rights, Cyprus and other issues.
The European Commission accused Erdoğan's government on Oct. 6 of undermining Turkey's economy, eroding its democracy and destroying independent courts, and said this record left Ankara further away than ever from EU membership.
In a further sign of fraying ties, Erdoğan upbraided French President Emmanuel Macron over comments he made last week promising to fight "Islamist separatism." He said the remarks showed the French leader's "impertinence."