EU’s Cyprus emphasis proves ‘lack of strategic vision,’ says Turkey

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry criticized the April 18 Special European Council decision tying improved EU-Turkey relationship to resuming talks on the Cyprus issue as a “lack of strategic vision.”

Duvar English

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on April 18 published a statement in response to the Special European Council conclusions regarding the country, calling the emphasis the Council placed on the Cyprus issue as a prerequisite for improved relations a “lack of strategic vision on Turkey.”

The Ministry stated that it was “contradictory” that the Council did not provide multifaceted conclusions while emphasizing the “strategic interest in developing a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship” with Turkey.  

Turkey remained adamant about its stance on the Cyprus issue, saying insisting upon it could not positively and constructively contribute to EU-Turkey relations. 

“In the coming period, we will review our dialogue with the EU based on reciprocity, taking into account the pace, level, and scope of the EU's steps towards Turkey,” concluded the Foreign Ministry statement. 

The European Commission’s conclusions on Turkey stated that the EU had a “strategic interest in a stable and secure environment in the Eastern Mediterranean and the development of a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship with Turkey.”

To this end, the “resumption of and progress in the Cyprus settlement talks” was important to further enhance EU-Turkey cooperation.

Turkey has been a candidate for EU accession since 1999, with ties straining and accession negotiations coming to a halt in 2016 due to “human rights and rule of law concerns.”

Since 2020, Turkey’s maritime activity in the Eastern Mediterranean, off the coast of Northern Cyprus, has become a major dispute between the Greek and Cypriot governments, both EU members.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is not officially recognized by any other state than Turkey. 

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in 2021 stated the Union would "never, ever accept a two-state solution" in Cyprus, despite Turkish demands.