ANKARA: The European Commission’s 2018 “progress report” for Turkey urged Ankara to align more closely with the EU’s declarations and decisions on common foreign and security policy for the next year.
“In the coming year, Turkey should in particular take urgent steps to significantly improve its alignment with EU declarations and Council decisions on common foreign and security policy,” stated the report, released on April 17.
On common foreign and security policy (CFSP), Turkey voiced support for the overall objectives in the Global strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy, stated the Commission’s report.
Turkey aligned itself, when invited, with 10 out of 64 EU declarations and Council decisions, representing an alignment rate of around 16 percent during the reporting period, the report said.
The Commission reiterated the principle that member states must be able to conduct political dialogue under EU foreign, security and defense policy, to align with EU statements, to take part in EU actions, and to apply agreed sanctions and restrictive measures.
“Turkey is moderately prepared in the area of foreign, security and defense policy. Some progress was made through regular political dialogue on foreign and security policy, including at ministerial level,” the Commission’s report read, adding that the EU and Turkey “continued their dialogue on counterterrorism.”
The EU recalled that Turkey joined Russia and Iran in the Astana process with Syria and continued to provide substantial humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees.
“In January 2018, Turkey launched a new military operation in Syria, in the Afrin area, against the PYD/YPG,” noted the report, referring to “Operation Olive Branch” against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units.
The annual report on Turkey, formerly called the progress report, was published after a one-and-a-half-year hiatus.__Hurriyet