By Kamila Aliyeva
Head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker called for normalization of EU-Turkish relations in the article published in Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
Turkey’s ties with the EU have recently worsened following an April referendum which expanded the powers of the president.
However, Juncker urges for steps to enhance relations and promote cooperation, despite political disagreements in certain areas.
He noted that after an attempted coup in Turkey organized by Fetullah Gulen (FETÖ) movement, the European Union supported Ankara by extending a helping hand to it.
There is undeniable evidence of the coup attempt left on the building of the Turkish parliament, in addition, to the wounds and deaths of many civilians in Turkey, the article said.
On July 15, 2016, Turkish authorities said a military coup attempt took place in the country as a group of servicemen announced about transition of power to them.
The author of the article reminds that on the night of the failed coup, he together with the chairman of the EU Council Donald Tusk and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogerini, condemned the coup plotters on behalf of the union by sending a message which stated that "the EU has always supported and will continue to support Ankara."
For the EU, it is important that Turkey remains a democratic, stable and successful state in terms of the economy, according to Juncker.
Europe still expects Turkey, which is a candidate for membership into the 28-member body, to adhere to European values and develop in the European direction.
Accession negotiations started in 2005, but until Turkey agrees to apply the Additional Protocol of the Ankara Association Agreement to Cyprus, eight negotiation chapters will not be opened and no chapter will be provisionally closed.
Moreover, the possible imposition of the death penalty in Turkey will literally close the door to the EU for Turkey, as it contradicts European values, the article said.
Turkey-EU relations, after years of deadlock following the opening of accession talks in 2005 have intensified in 2016 with parties closely cooperating to stem the flow of refugees into the EU.
Juncker praised the EU-Turkey agreements in areas such as energy, security, fight against terrorism and refugees.
The EU and Turkey reached an agreement in March last year to fight illegal flow of migrants to the EU.
Within the framework of this agreement the number of refugees coming from Turkey to Greece decreased by 97 percent. In addition, EU provided 1.6 billion euros for projects to improve conditions of refugees who took shelter in Turkey.
Overall, Turkey is the country in the world hosting the highest number of refugees, and has already spent significant financial resources to address this crisis.
It is necessary to choose a pragmatic way with a road map for the next 12 months, and these steps will necessarily affect the relations between Turkey and the EU, the article said.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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