High Representative to return soon to troubled south-east region of Turkey

EU-Turkey High Political DialogueEU-Turkey High Political Dialogue

High Representative Federica Mogherini pledged today to pay a visit to south-east Turkey in the near future, following the postponement of today’s planned visit to Mardin because of the last-minute cancellation of a flight.

The High Representative spoke on the phone with the Governor and the co-mayor of Mardin to express her regret and to confirm her intention to visit the region in the near future.

The difficult and tense situation in the south east of Turkey was among the main topics discussed during the meetings the EU delegation had yesterday with the government and the political parties: Federica Mogherini called for an immediate ceasefire and for the return to a peace process.

Her call came at Monday’s EU-Turkey High-Level Dialogue, which sought to re-energise strategic cooperation between the EU and Turkey.

“We are re-launching, re-energising and revitalising our strategic cooperation into a broader cooperation because the relations between the European Union and Turkey in these months have been seen mainly through the angle of our common concern for the refugees that we have to protect and host and also our concern about the management of the flow in a coordinated way,” she said after the Dialogue she had on Monday, together with Commissioners Hahn and Stylianides, with the Turkish minister for Foreign affairs Cavasoglu and for European affairs Bozkir.

On the refugee issue, the two sides agreed that the Action Plan on Migration and Refugees adopted at the end of last year must be fully implemented.

“We agreed to strengthen our constant work in this respect, so that actions are coordinated, consistent, coherent - that what we have agreed upon delivers for the benefit of first the refugees and the migrants, because our first priority is always saving lives and preventing the smuggling organisations and the criminal networks to make profit out of people’s desperation, but also that we make this management of the flows sustainable both for Turkey and the European Union,” Mogherini said.

"But the relations between the European Union and Turkey go far beyond this single very important, but still single point of the agenda", she underlined. First of all there is the developing broader picture of the bilateral relations.

"As the European Union, we value as extremely important the role of the talks on accession in particular on the issues of rule of law, human rights, including freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, and the independence of judiciary. I know that the Turkish government has an ambitious reform agenda we value as extremely important that these issues are included and implemented on the way ahead", she said.

They also discussed the crisis in Syria, where there are hopes that intra-Syrian talks will start by the end of this month.

“This is going to be also the only real way of defeating Da’esh on the ground, guaranteeing the unity of the regional and international actors, allowing the unity of Syrian forces - a transition that could be inclusive - to have ceasefire and unite forces on the ground against Da’esh and al-Nusra.”

The Dialogue also looked at the situation in Iraq , and the need to support an inclusive approach by the government and to accompany the military operations against Da’esh in Iraq with a process that makes different religious groups feel ownership and that conditions are safe to live in their territories.

They also held a “very constructive” discussion on Libya, and the Middle East Peace Process, as well as cooperation on counter terrorism and the possible positive developments on the Cyprus settlement.

They also shared concerns about the situation in the South East of Turkey.

“The European Union strongly condemns all forms of terrorist attacks, including by the PKK, but at the same time we call for an immediate ceasefire and the return to the Kurdish peace process which was launched in the past years with a brave, courageous vision by the Turkish authorities and that we believe is and stays as the only way for peace and stability in the country and also most likely in the region,” the High Representative concluded.


Joint Statement following the High-Level Political Dialogue between the EU and Turkey: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-16-156_en.htm