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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with top EU officials

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with top EU officials

Seeking to build on renewed momentum for better ties, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday met with top EU officials.

Via videoconference, Erdogan spoke with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council head Charles Michel ahead of an EU leaders’ summit next week, where Turkish-EU ties are set to be discussed.

Also present at the 45-minute meeting were Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, and presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin.


‘EU summit should pave way for concrete action’

In a statement afterwards, Turkey’s Communications Directorate said that the leaders discussed strengthening Turkey-EU relations plus regional issues as well as mutual steps to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Erdogan told the EU leaders that he expects next week’s EU summit to yield results on Turkish-EU ties paving the way for concrete action, the statement added.

He added that he told the bloc’s leaders that a report on Turkish-EU relations to be submitted to the summit should reflect objective, constructive views on the future of Turkey-EU ties.

Pointing to the importance of restarting high-level dialogue to strengthen cooperation, Erdogan said that updating the 2016 migrant deal between Turkey and the bloc could form the basis for a positive agenda.

Erdogan also underlined the rising burden and pressure on Turkey from asylum seekers and irregular migration, the statement said.

Again proposing a conference on the Eastern Mediterranean, he said the EU should not allow Athens and the Greek Cypriots to abuse the EU summit on the pretext of “union solidarity.”

Realistic options for the Cyprus issue must be discussed instead of models proven to be ineffective to both sides on the island, Erdogan said, according to the statement, referring to proceeding now on the basis of two sovereign states.

Turkey maintains and supports stability and cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean despite Athens’ and the Greek Cypriots’ provocations and aggression, he added.