New EP Turkey rapporteur looking to enhance relations with Ankara

The European Parliament's (EP) newly appointed Turkey rapporteur Nacho Sanchez Amor hopes to enhance deteriorating relations between Ankara and the EU.

Turkey and the 28-member bloc should focus on confidence building measures to boost relations, Amor, who was appointed last month, told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency on Tuesday. 

"I want to fulfill my duties in an objective and comprehensive manner. I want to meet with all sides involved in Turkey-EU relations," Amor said, adding that both sides should figure out fields where advancements are possible, as well as fields that remain deadlocked.

Turkey’s EU bid, which formally began in 2005, has stalled and the pre-accession financial assistance Turkey receives has been substantially reduced.

There is large consensus in Europe that Turkey failed to comply with any of the required criteria pertaining to the EU candidacy. In a non-binding vote on March 13, 2019, the European Parliament called for the suspension of EU accession talks with Turkey, citing violations of human rights and the rule of law.

"We need to review the current situation to start a new period," Amor told Anadolu. 

Amor replaced Kati Piri, a Dutch centre-left EU lawmaker who sponsored the resolution to freeze Turkey’s EU bid.

The EP Turkey rapporteur also spoke on the Turkish offensive in northeast Syria targeting Kurdish forces. 

While the EU acknowledges Turkey's legitimate security concerns, it is against a unilateral operation, Amor said. 

Turkey on Oct. 9 launched a cross-border operation in the region aiming to clear the area of Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), a group Ankara considers "terrorists" linked to Kurdish separatists on its soil.

Although the offensive ended after day nine, following two separate ceasefire deals with the United States and Russia, clashes between Turkish and Kurdish-led forces continue.