Turkey says EU security roadmap disconnected from reality

Turkey on Tuesday criticised Strategic Compass, the European Union's new defence and security plan for 2030, saying it contradicted international law and would not lead to desired goals in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey has clashed with the EU, and more specifically EU members Greece and Cyprus, over territorial claims in the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea. The document was agreed by EU defence ministers on Monday and is due to be approved by EU leaders on Thursday.

"Notably the chapter in the document on the Eastern Mediterranean where our country is referred to seems to have been dictated by the two members of the EU who have maximalist maritime boundary claims at the expense and persistent denial of the rights of Türkiye and the Turkish Cypriots," the ministry said. "This chapter fully contradicts international law, practice and even the EU’s own acquis; as such it is disconnected from reality."

The plan "cannot function as a “compass” nor can it be dubbed “strategic”," the ministry said. "This document will undoubtedly make the EU part of the problem rather than the solution in the eastern Mediterranean and not steer the Union to the correct strategies."

Strategic Compass is designed to reinforce the bloc’s defences in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

"Tensions in the eastern Mediterranean remain, due to provocations and unilateral actions against EU member states and violations of sovereign rights in breach of international law, as well as the instrumentalisation of irregular migration, and have the potential to escalate quickly," the EU said in the document. "Ensuring a stable and secure environment as well as a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship, in line with the principle of good neighbourly relations, is in the interest of both the EU and Turkey."

The EU said in the draft that "with Turkey, a contributor to CSDP missions and operations, we will continue to cooperate in areas of common interest. We remain committed to developing a mutually beneficial partnership, but this requires equal commitment on Turkey’s side to advance on a path of cooperation, sustained de-escalation and to address EU concerns."

The Turkish foreign ministry said it was "unfortunate and non-visionary for the EU that the document misses the truth and reality and sees a candidate country and a NATO ally from such a shallow perspective."

According to Euractiv, an EU official told the Athens News Agency that Turkey was an important country for the EU and the bloc would try to preserve a positive relationship with Ankara. But “at the same time we know that there are challenges in the region, so it is in the Strategic Compass”, the official said.

The wording of the document was not new and had already been adopted by EU leaders in recent months and years, the official said.

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