Turkey should resume the return of illegal migrants from Greece “without delay,” said Oliver Warcheliy, head of the European Commission’s enlargement department, on Tuesday.
“It is important for Turkey to immediately resume the return of illegal migrants from Greece to Turkey and avoid the opening of alternative routes, as well as further reduce the number of illegal migrants arriving in Cyprus,” he told legislators in the European Parliament during a debate. Turkey for 2019-2020 “.
Varkheli said that cooperation with Ankara has led to a “significant reduction” in illegal migration flows in recent years. The EU-Turkey statement remains a “key framework” for cooperation in this area.
The head of the European Commission’s enlargement department also said that the EU is aware of “the enormous burden that Turkey bears in taking on the largest number of refugees in the world. In this context, the Commission will soon propose options for the continuation of EU support provided through the Refugee Fund. ”
The Commissioner also spoke about the foreign policy of Turkey, which “is more and more contrary to the priorities of the EU, continuing to complicate relations between the EU and Turkey, as well as Turkey’s relations with individual member states.”
“As a result, last year, relations between the EU and Turkey reached an extremely low level,” he continued.
However, in recent months there has been a de-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean, with the resumption of bilateral negotiations between Greece and Turkey and informal negotiations on the Cyprus problem in Geneva.
“These are encouraging facts that need to be supported and strengthened along with the constructive engagement of Turkey with the EU and all its member states. But this de-escalation on the foreign policy front was not accompanied by a positive impetus in internal reforms, ”he added.
According to him, the EU is “strategically interested” in developing cooperation and mutually beneficial relations with Turkey.