Fostering hope in Syria (and more, on Turkey and Argentina)

Fostering hope in Syria (and more, on Turkey and Argentina)

I write from Buenos Aires, where I just landed for the first visit ever to Argentina of a European Union’s High Representative. I will meet with President Mauricio Macri, my friend the Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra, other representatives of the government and of Argentine’s civil society. I spent the last two days in Brussels and Strasbourg. Yesterday I was in the European Parliament for the plenary session, where I took part in a debate on Syria (here are my opening remarks and my reply to the MEPs’ questions), and for the weekly meeting of the Commissioners’ College. Last Monday I spent the whole day (and part of the night) at the European Council, right after a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu: we discussed how to manage an unprecedented flow of refugees, touching both Turkey and the European Union, together with other countries in the region (next week I will also visit Lebanon and Jordan). To me, the meeting with the Turkish authorities was also an opportunity to address the need to strengthen the cessation of hostilities and to work for a resumption of negotiations in Geneva. But I also highlighted that Turkey must respect our European standards of the rule of law and fundamental rights, starting with the freedom of the press and of association, and it needs to restart the peace process with the Kurds. This was also the focus of my meeting with Selahattin Demirtaş, the leader of the main opposition party, during the PES summit right before the European Council (in the bottom-right picture above...

Remarks by Federica Mogherini upon arrival at the meeting of EU heads of state or government with Turkey

Check against delivery! We have today an important point on the agenda: making sure that all that has been agreed with Turkey is implemented, related to the Joint Action Plan and the refugee crisis, and in particular the need to make it sustainable in the immediate term and in the long run – the protection of the refugees and the management of the flow, with the disruption of the network of traffickers. This is why, let me remind you once again, the European Union is allocating 3€ billion – not to the government of Turkey, but to projects to support refugees and their lives. Our relation with Turkey is a complex one and a complete one, as Turkey is in itself a complex country. We have several different issues on the table and we discuss with all of the country. I was glad this morning to meet Mr Selahattin Demirtaş, opposition leader, to discuss also with him the perspectives of the relationship between Turkey and the European Union. We are working together on the Syrian War, trying to put an end to the 5 year old conflict there – this is a top priority for the European Union. We are working together also with Turkey as a candidate country and here we have internal developments we are following very closely from the European Union’s side. There is the need to restart the Kurdish peace process. The European Union recognises that the PKK is a terrorist organisation, but there is the need to re-engage – from the Turkish authority’s side – with the Kurdish political representatives, the ones that express...