The EU must send ‘targeted messages’ to Turkey, PM Tsipas stresses

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stressed the need for European Union to stay calm in the face of developments in Turkey, while at the same sending stern but targeted messages to Ankara, while addressing the European Council’s working dinner on Thursday.

The European leaders agreed that Turkey is moving away from the Copenhagen criteria, particularly with respect to democratic values and the rule of law, while expressing concern about developments and Turkey’s role in the region.

According to government sources, the Greek prime minister underlined that issues related to democracy and the rule of law in Turkey are not only matters of principle, but could affect defence, security and public order in Greece.

For these reasons, Tsipras noted that Greece has a heightened interest in these issues, and has extensively referred to Turkey’s unlawful aeronautical activity in the Aegean, stressing that this activity, coupled with its attitude towards the Republic of Cyprus, must be crucial issues in Euro-Turkish relations.

Tsipras said there are measures that can be taken to send specific messages to Turkey, but the strategic choice of Turkey’s accession course must be continued, both for the benefit of Europe and the Turkish people.

He also stated the importance of strengthening the funding mechanism for refugees on Turkey’s territory and stressed the need to maintain European Union cooperation with Ankara on the refugee issue.