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EUCO President says EU27 physical meeting needed for in depth discussions on Turkey

A physical meeting of the European Council is necessary for the EU27 to discuss the situation with Turkey in depth, but the EU’s solidarity with Greece and Cyprus is real, and the European Council will revert to the issue shortly, the President of the European Council Charles Michel told CNA, after the EUCO teleconference on Belarus.

More specifically called by CNA to comment on the possibility of imposing extra sanctions on Turkey for its activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, Charles Michel stated the following:

“Solidarity by the European Council with Greece and Cyprus was expressed very clearly, it was repeated today and expressed regularly and I said this earlier on when I gave my introduction.
Now, I did announce formally in July that it is our intention to hold a special European Council with physical presence, in Brussels, and you need to understand that it is important to do have people actually here, so we can look into the details and go into the right short of detail, the necessary detail to have a clear strong and unified position, expressed on the relations between the EU and Turkey.
And I repeat, there are various options on the table.
I have been involved the very recent days and weeks, I’ve been in close contact with the Greek and Cypriot authorities and also with other European countries who are very much involved in this.
I’ve been in touch with the leaders of NATO, because of course there is an issue there, Turkey is also a member of NATO, and I had the opportunity to discuss this with President Erdogan as well.
We will continue to monitor events very closely and I will assure you that we are doing that, we are looking at the situation very closely in this part of the Mediterranean.
We are showing solidarity with Greece and Cyprus.
This is real solidarity, this is not virtual solidarity because we will be having this meeting physically in September.
That will give the 27 Member States to look at this together and go into the substance of the matter. And we will be looking into the relations between the EU and Turkey.”

Furthermore, the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von Der Leyen stated the following answering the same question:

“Of course these are two different situations, because we have long history with Turkey, of opportunities, cooperation, but also conflict.
And it is very clear that the relationship with Turkey will be subject not only in Gymnich with the Foreign Ministers, but also on the table of the European Council and as the President said, all option will be on the table.
For us is first and foremost important the willingness on all sides to engage in a problem solving dialog.
This is the most important, there are problems out there, there are conflicts out there, and they should be solved together.”

The President’s written conclusions on the East Med as published state the following:

“The situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the relations with Turkey were raised by some Member States.
We are increasingly concerned about the growing tensions and stressed the urgent need to de-escalate.
We expressed our full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus and recalled and reaffirmed our previous conclusions on the illegal drilling activities.
We agreed to revert to these issues during our meeting in September.
All options will be on the table.”

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