Brussels once again ignored the efforts that Turkey has made to mend ties with its neighbours.

The recently concluded EU summit has done little to pacify Turkey's concerns.
The recently concluded EU summit has done little to pacify Turkey's concerns. (AP)

The EU has once again sidestepped the matter of Turkey’s accession to the union and instead hinged Brussels' relationship with Ankara on a very narrow scope that deals with the refugees, Turkey's Foreign Ministry has said. 

Turkey’s relations with its European neighbours have improved in recent months yet a statement issued after the conclusion of a two-day summit in Brussels made no reference to the status of Turkey’s candidacy in the EU or trade related issues. 

Even though the EU acknowledged that tension between the two sides has decreased, it did not take any step on important issues such as the Customs Union, a trade pact that gives Turkish companies access to the EU market, the ministry said.

Turkey sees this “as a delaying tactic, lack of will and abuse of the EU membership by one or two member states. Avoiding reference to our candidacy status in the text also confirms this view”.

The Head of EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen said that the bloc would allocate an additional $3.58B (€3B) to support Syrian refugees in Turkey until 2024.

But Ankara said this financial package is a way by which European countries are trying to safeguard their own borders. 

“Reducing migration cooperation to just a financial dimension is a big mistake. Aiming for close cooperation in this area would be beneficial for everyone," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said. 

READ MORE: Turkey vows to put EU ties 'back on track'

Cyprus issue

On the issue of the island of Cyprus, the EU has once again repeated the line that ignores the rights of Turkish Cypriots, Ankara said. 

"In order to reduce tensions and start dialogue and cooperation, Turkey has done more than its share," it said.

Ankara has been at odds with France and historic rival Greece over Turkish drilling operations near the divided island of Cyprus and search for natural gas in eastern Mediterranean waters.

But Ankara and Athens have resumed direct talks about their row for the first time since 2016 and Turkey has pulled back its research vessels from the contested areas of the sea.

Turkish President Erdogan and French President Macron have also tried to calm their war of words by exchanging personal letters and meeting on the sidelines of a NATO summit this month.

Time to revisit the Customs Union 

Ankara expressed particular frustration with the limited progress made in Brussels on an upgrade of a customs treaty the sides agreed to in 1995.

The ministry called the lack of clear movement on the pact "a delaying tactic and a lack of goodwill".

The Customs Union has transformed Turkey's manufacturing sector in the past two decades – helping it transition from being a supplier of basic knitted garments and vegetables to becoming a regional powerhouse that exports high-tech electronic appliances and automobiles.

Turkey has been seeking a revision of the Customs Union, which governs the trade of manufactured goods between Turkey and the EU, to broaden its scope.

The agreement was the culmination of a long wait for Turkey to be part of the single European market.

It basically eliminated tariffs on the trade of goods. That means cars, precision instruments, yachts, jeans and refrigerators, could move freely across the border with the EU.

Since the early 2000s, when the effects of the CU started to trickle in, Turkey's global exports have more than quadrupled, increasing from $31 billion in 2001 to $180 billion in 2019.

READ MORE: Erdogan to EU: Turkey's ultimate goal is 'full membership' of bloc

Source: TRTWorld and agencies