ANKARA (AA) - Foreign ministers of the EU bloc gathered in Brussels on Monday to discuss several international issues, including the future of transatlantic ties and relations with membership candidate Turkey.
“We are going to talk a lot about transatlantic relations and present a proposal … about a new refresh start with our engagement with the US,” foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who brought the proposal, told reporters in a doorstep statement.
The top diplomats of the EU member state will exchange views on transatlantic relations, and the future of the relations with the US as well as the post-election situation in Georgia, legislative elections in Venezuela, and a Chinese security law for Hong Kong, according to the official agenda items.
Heiko Maas, the German foreign minister, told reporters that relations with Turkey would also be on their agenda today.
“Germany has made considerable efforts in the last couple of months to find a way to enhance dialogue with Turkey,” he said, criticizing Ankara for recent tensions with EU members Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“Today we will discuss what kind of consequences we would draw from this, also with a view to the EU summit later this week,” he added.
Turkey has sharply criticized Greece for rejecting its offers to engage in dialogue over the disputes as well as taking steps that only serve to raise regional tensions.
Today’s meeting in Brussels is expected to determine the framework of the leader’s agenda at the Dec. 10-11 summit.
Amid recent tensions in the region, Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration have upped their pressure on other EU members to impose sanctions on Turkey at this week’s summit.
To date the EU's current term president, Germany, and most EU members have been reluctant to take such action.
Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected the maritime boundary claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that these excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.
Ankara has sent several drill ships in recent months to explore for energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting its own rights in the region, as well as those of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favor of resolving all outstanding problems in the region through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue, and negotiation.