Turkey’s top diplomat to visit Brussels for key talks with EU, NATO
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu will pay a two-day visit to Brussels to discuss the future of Turkey-EU relations with senior EU officials, including matters concerning visa waiver to Turkish nationals, updating customs union and renewing of migrant deal.
During his trip on Jan. 21 and 22, Çavuşoğlu will hold extensive talks with his counterpart, the EU’s high representative for security and foreign policy, Josep Borrell, and commissioners responsible for migration and enlargement.
His schedule includes a meeting with EU Council President Charles Michel and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who are expected to visit Turkey for talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan next week.
“During the talks in Brussels, all aspects of Turkey-EU relations, Turkey’s accession process, current regional and international issues are expected to be discussed. Turkey’s expectations for progress in Turkey-EU relations through a positive agenda will be conveyed,” the Foreign Ministry stated.
For his part, Borrell expressed his optimism about the ongoing dialogue with Turkey in a statement at the EU Parliament ahead of Çavuşoğlu’s visit.
“It seems that the ambiance is much better than that last summer. Let’s hope that the meeting with Minister Mr. Çavuşoğlu will be at least longer than we had in Malta during the month of August that lasted no more than one hour,” Borrell said.
“So, let’s see if we can change the dynamics. I’m sure we will,” he added.
Three top issues that Çavuşoğlu and Borrell will discuss are the preparations for the upcoming Turkey-EU Summit, the renewal of the 2016-dated migrant deal and the modalities of a multilateral conference on the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey says that the migrant deal needs to be renewed in the light of new realities as the country is currently hosting around five million refugees, twice more than in 2016 when Ankara and Brussels agreed on a 3+3 billion euros financial assistance.
The migrant deal included prospects for expanding the scope of the 1995-dated customs union with Turkey that has not been fulfilled yet by the EU due to the political obstacles. Turkey also demands the EU to accomplish the process for visa liberalization for Turkish citizens.
Çavuşoğlu to meet NATO chief
In Brussels, Çavuşoğlu will also meet NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes. The meeting with Stoltenberg comes days after Greece and Turkey resumed their talks at NATO as part of a de-conflicting mechanism set by the NATO chief.