The Anatolia News Agency reported that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and President of the Council of Europe Charles Michel met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Tuesday evening.
Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin praised the talks between Erdogan and the European officials, saying that they discussed various issues, including updating the immigration agreement, renewing customs rules, liberalizing visas for European Union citizens and other important political issues.
According to the Anatolia News Agency, Kalin explained that Erdogan, referring to the prospects for Ankara’s relations with Europe in the near future, stated that Turkey’s ultimate goal is full membership in the European Union.
Accordingly, the Turkish President called on the European Union to take decisive steps to support Ankara’s positive agenda on common issues, saying that strengthening political, economic and social relations between Turkey and Europe will not only help stabilize countries, but also bring peace into the region.
Erdogan also stressed the need to update the terms of the agreement between Turkey and the European Union regarding migrants – in order to cover the new circumstances that have emerged in recent years.
He said that the issue of migrants should be addressed and the sensitivity and responsibility shared towards it.
On the other hand, European officials announced their readiness to revive relations with Turkey, but stressed that this matter is linked to Ankara’s efforts to calm tensions in the region.
“We have opened our hands with a positive approach to Turkey and it is up to Turkey to seize this opportunity firmly,” Michel told reporters after a three-hour meeting.
“Our interaction with Turkey will be progressive, proportionate and reversible.”
“The de-escalation in the region must continue,” he said, urging Turkey to resolve the long-standing dispute with Greece and Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean.
Ursula von der Leyen said, “The revised agreement between Turkey and Europe, which also includes key provisions, is a long way from solving the refugee problem and reviving Turkish-European relations,” referring to the European Union’s readiness to modernize the agreement.
The President of the European Commission added:
“For the time being, we expect Turkey to fully implement the provisions of the current agreement.
This includes preventing the illegal entry of immigrants [to Europe]. It will also include the resumption of the return of migrants from the Greek islands to Turkey without any delay.
According to CJT, one of the highlights of yesterday’s meeting was Erdogan’s absence from a press conference with two European officials, which the Turkish presidential spokesman did not comment on.
In recent months, Turkish exploration in the eastern Mediterranean has escalated tensions between Turkey and European countries.
Greece and Cyprus say, along with some European countries, that Turkey’s actions are illegal and provocative, and warned Ankara of the consequences.
However, Turkey stated that it only secures its rights in the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean.