Erdogan asks the EU to relaunch accession negotiations – Region – World

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (L) shake hands after a joint press conference after talks at the presidential compound in Ankara on 22 March 2022 (AFP)

The Turkish president’s remarks come as the war in Ukraine allows Ankara to return to the international scene by offering its services as a mediator in the conflict.

“We expect the EU to quickly open the chapters of the accession negotiations and start negotiations on a customs union without giving in to cynical calculations,” Erdogan said after talks with the Dutch prime minister in visit, Mark Rutte.

Negotiations for Turkey’s one-day membership of the EU27, which began in 2005, have stalled in recent years due to tensions between the two sides, with the EU accusing Turkey of walking away from the EU. rule of law and other values ​​on which the bloc is founded.

Relations between Turkey and the EU deteriorated sharply after the July 2016 coup attempt.

The EU has often criticized the repression and attacks on freedom of expression that followed the failed putsch, during which tens of thousands of people were arrested, including journalists.

The EU and Turkey had reached a deal worth billions of euros in March 2016 in which Turkey would take back migrants in exchange for visa liberalisation, which has yet to be introduced for Turks.

EU heads of state and government are due to meet in Brussels on Wednesday for a summit aimed at dealing with the fallout from Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

NATO is also due to hold a crisis summit on Ukraine on Thursday.

The Turkish president has held talks over the past week and a half with four EU and NATO leaders.

An ally of kyiv and a member of NATO, Turkey has been trying since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis to mediate between Russia and Ukraine while refusing to align itself behind Western sanctions against Russia.

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