Turkey hopes to turn ‘new page’ with EU: Erdoğan
Turkey wants to turn a new page with the European Union, but some countries are consistently putting efforts to cause a crisis, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told a top EU official.
“While Turkey hopes to turn a new page with the EU, some ceaselessly try to provoke crises,” Erdoğan told European Council President Charles Michel in a telephone call, according to a statement from the Turkish Presidency.
Michel called Erdoğan on Dec. 15 to exchange views on the recently held EU summit, Turkey’s Presidential Communications Directorate said in a statement.
EU-Turkey relations should get rid of this vicious cycle as soon as possible, Erdoğan said during their conversation.
The president also noted that Turkey evaluates every positive step taken in Turkey-EU relations as “a new window of opportunity.”
The president said the 2016 deal aimed at curbing migration through Turkey to Europe in return for billions of euros in funds could be a starting point to create a more “positive” climate.
Turkey reiterated its readiness for exploratory talks with Greece, the president said, adding that the Greek side has constantly avoided negotiations by making excuses and has taken provocative steps in recent weeks.
Emphasizing that Turkey’s eastern Mediterranean policy is based on fairness and justice, he said the Turkish side always makes necessary efforts for a fair, permanent and sustainable solution in the region.
Ankara wishes that the EU will adopt a sensible and constructive attitude towards Turkey, he added.
An EU leaders’ meeting in Brussels last week decided to draw up a list of Turkish targets for sanctions over Ankara’s “unilateral actions and provocations” in the eastern Mediterranean, believed to be rich in energy resources.
Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the eastern Mediterranean, has rejected maritime boundary claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration and stressed that these excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.
Ankara has sent several drillships in recent months to explore energy resources. The Oruç Reis vessel returned to the port in Antalya ahead of last week’s EU summit.