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EU: Cat and mouse game with Turkey must stop

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives before a meeting with European Commission President and EU Council President at the EU headquarters in Brussels on March 9, 2020 [JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images]
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives before a meeting with European Commission President and EU Council President at the EU headquarters in Brussels on March 9, 2020 [JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images]

The European Union (EU) has called for the "cat and mouse game" with Turkey to stop, adding that it wants a "more stable and more predictable" relationship with the Islamic majority country.

Speaking at a press conference, European Council President Charles Michel announced on Friday: "We need to work together to have that predictable relationship and we're going to use all channels."

He added: "I think that the cat and mouse game needs to end. In October, after a very dense and strategic high-level exchange, we defined a very positive offer to Turkey, we extended our hands."

In order to make progress on issues related to the economy, migration and energy, Turkey should end "unilateral provocations, hostile statements," Michel urged.

"Since October, things have not been very positive. Since that time, we've seen that there have been unilateral acts that have taken place, a hostile rhetoric has been expressed," according to Michel.

Read: 'Mankind's greatest peace project needs Turkey,' says Ambassador

"After October, we made a commitment, and in December we will talk about the way in which we envisage moving forward with the 27 member states," he explained, referring to the EU leaders summit next Friday, adding:

We want to have more stability and more visibility with Turkey. But we see that there's not a significant positive movement with Turkey and that's an issue.

Asked whether he will talk to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of next week's summit, Michel responded: "As a European, I'm a man of dialogue and when we have conflicts and differences of opinion, we need to enter into dialogue. So that we can work together to manage and solve crises and conflicts unanimously. We want a more stable and more predictable relationship with Turkey."

"We need to work together to have that predictable relationship and we're going to use all channels."

In recent months, Turkey and the EU have been at odds over maritime boundaries, with the EU siding with the maximalist claims of its members Greece and Greek Southern Cyprus.

Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected those claims, stating that they violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.

In recent months, Turkey has sent several drillships to explore for energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting its rights in the region, as well as those of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favour of resolving all outstanding problems in the region through international law, good neighbourly relations, dialogue and negotiation.

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