The European Union reflects the illegal and maximalist views of Greece and the Greek Cypriots in its recent report on Türkiye, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, underlining that the report ignores Turkish Cypriots.
Describing the European Commission's report as "far from a strategic view and visionless," the ministry, in a written statement, said that the responsibilities to candidate country Türkiye were overlooked while a double-standard approach was adopted.
“The fact that the Turkish Cypriots are ignored and that the views of the TRNC as well as Türkiye were not mentioned in the report at all, clearly reveals with whose interests the report was written.”
The ministry underlined that the EU is not a judicial authority in determining maritime jurisdiction.
Saying that the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean has “again become tenser,” the European Commission said that “Türkiye must respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all EU member states.”
Türkiye and Greece are at odds over a number of issues, including competing claims over jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean, overlapping claims over their continental shelves, maritime boundaries, air space, energy, the ethnically split island of Cyprus, the status of the islands in the Aegean Sea and migrants.
Ankara in recent months has stepped up criticism of Greece stationing troops on islands in the Eastern Aegean, near the Turkish coast and in many cases visible from shore while the two countries have also traded accusations of airspace violations in recent weeks.
The ministry further said that following Türkiye's messages underlining the significance of cooperation against common challenges on Oct. 6 during the European Political Community summit, the report was regrettable.
"We do not accept the criticism and baseless claims, especially regarding the political criteria, judicial and fundamental rights chapter. We completely reject the unfair claims on our political system, our politicians and administrators, the fundamental rights and freedoms of our country, some judicial decisions and our fight against terrorism of the EU, which does not lift the political obstacles on the accession chapters."
Türkiye-EU relations are marked by disputes on several issues, including tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Türkiye’s role in Syria, the migrant crisis and the stalemate in Türkiye’s accession process to join the bloc.
Türkiye has the longest history with the union and has had the longest negotiation process. The country signed an association agreement with the EU's predecessor in 1964, the European Economic Community (EEC), which is usually regarded as a first step to eventually becoming a candidate. Applying for official candidacy in 1987, Türkiye had to wait until 1999 to be granted the status of a candidate country. For the start of the negotiations, however, Ankara had to wait for another six years, until 2005, a uniquely long process compared with other candidates.
On the other side, the ministry also denounced that Türkiye was criticized for not joining EU sanctions on Russia.
Türkiye is one of the most active countries working to ensure a permanent cease-fire between Ukraine and Russia. Its delicately balanced act of assuming a role as a mediator by keeping communication channels with both warring sides open provides a glimmer of hope in diplomatic efforts to find a solution and achieve peace in the Ukraine crisis.
Since the beginning of the conflict, Ankara has offered to mediate between the two sides and host peace talks, underlining its support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. While Ankara has opposed international sanctions designed to isolate Moscow, it also closed its straits to prevent some Russian vessels from crossing through them.
"The EU should not see Türkiye as a third country whose door it can knock when needed, but as a candidate country that is continuing negotiations and should fulfill the principle of pacta sunt servanda. We will only take EU reports seriously if such an approach is adopted."