The Council had a debate on Turkey.
Turkey is an important country for the EU with whom we would wish to see our relations strengthened and developing. This should be done in respect of EU values, principles and interests. At the same time there are worrying developments, in particular in the Eastern Mediterranean and regarding Libya, that affect the EU’s interests.
Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
There was a consensus among member states that EU-Turkey relations were currently under strain because of worrying developments affecting the EU’s interests, in particular in the Eastern Mediterranean and Libya. Ministers agreed that several serious issues had to be addressed by Turkey in order to change the current confrontational dynamic, and create an environment of trust.
In line with the Council Conclusions on illegal Turkish drilling activities in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus of 15 July 2019 and the statement on the Eastern Mediterranean of 15 May 2020, it was stressed that Turkey's unilateral actions, in particular in the Eastern Mediterranean, which run counter to EU interests, to the sovereign rights of EU member states and to international law, must come to an end.
Ministers also called on Turkey to contribute actively to a political solution in Libya and to respect the commitments it had taken in the framework of the Berlin process, including the UN arms embargo. Member states underlined the importance of Operation IRINI to ensure the respect of the arms embargo by all actors and committed to consider ways to ensure its full effectiveness, with the aim of preventing escalation on the ground.
Ministers also condemned the Turkish decision to convert Hagia Sophia back to a mosque as this decision will inevitably fuel mistrust, promote renewed divisions between religious communities and undermine efforts at dialogue and cooperation. There was broad support to call on the Turkish authorities to urgently reconsider and reverse their decision.
Finally, there was broad support to task the High Representative to explore further paths that could contribute to lowering tensions and reach understandings on issues that are increasingly stressing the EU-Turkey relationship.
Highlights from the Foreign Affairs Council, 13 July 2020
Latin America and the Caribbean
The Council discussed relations between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean, in light of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ministers discussed in particular how the EU can support the region with a view to revitalising the EU's political engagement with the region at this critical moment.
Ministers discussed the entry into force of the national security legislation in Hong Kong.
In this context ministers rested the EU's support for the autonomy and fundamental freedoms of the people of Hong Kong, and underlined that such a decision may have an impact on EU's relations with China.
The Foreign Affairs Council was then informed about Libya, where the situation on the ground remains bad, and blatant violations of the arms embargo continue to be recorded.
Ministers were also briefed about developments in the Belgrade Pristina Dialogue, which had been recently resumed, and its next meeting planned for Thursday 16 July in Brussels.
Finally, the High Representative also touched on Venezuela, for which he had proposed to convene a ministerial meeting of the International Crisis Group, followed by meetings with the Lima Group and other key actors.
The Council adopted conclusions on:
-13 July 2020