Erdoğan: Turkey wants to ‘turn new page’ in EU relations

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives before a meeting with European Commission President and EU Council President at the EU headquarters in Brussels on March 9, 2020. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP) (Photo by JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images)

Turkish president calls for return of ‘mutual trust’ in call with Ursula von der Leyen.

Turkey wants to “turn a new page in its relations with the EU in the new year,” its President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday, according to a statement by Erdoğan’s office.

“Erdoğan said that 2021 offered a productive atmosphere in terms of new cooperation to be built in the sphere of migration,” according to the statement, which suggested that the 2016 EU Turkey migration deal — which seeks to control the crossing of refugees and migrants from Turkey to the Greek islands — could be updated.

Erdoğan also said “the Customs Union should be updated, visa liberalization should be provided to Turkish citizens and steps should be taken in terms of membership negotiations.”

In general, the Turkish president said “mutual trust should be restored” between the two sides — but he also lashed out at “the caprices of some EU member states and the artificial problems created by them.”

Last year, tensions between the EU and Turkey escalated after a standoff between a French frigate and Turkish ships in June.

EU leaders in December called on the European Commission to produce a report on EU-Turkey relations, including options on how to proceed, by March.

“Good exchange with Turkish President [Erdogan],” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted after the call on Saturday.

“We stand ready to continue working on dialogue with Turkey,” tweeted EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who also attended. “I look forward to welcoming [Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu] to pursue the tasking received by [EU] leaders.”

Source: Politico

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