EU seeks a constructive relationship with Turkey

The European Union is seeking to rebuild a constructive relationship with Turkey, European Commission spokesperson Peter Stano said on Monday, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The EU worked to achieve this throughout 2020, Stano said.

A weekend video call between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and European officials on EU-Turkey relations was “part of the outreach from the European Union to convey this message and discuss the need to make practical steps on the road of renewal of a constructive relationship”, he said.

Erdoğan, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell held the virtual talks on Saturday.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu is expected to visit Brussels on Jan. 21 to continue discussions, Anadolu said.

Turkey has long sought to upgrade its customs union with the EU and to join the 27-member bloc, starting its membership talks in 2005. But the accession process is all but dead due to rising authoritarianism under Erdoğan’s leadership and a deteriorating relationship with member states.

EU leaders drew up a list of sanctions against Turkey at a December summit for its part in a dispute with members Greece and Cyprus over territorial claims in the eastern Mediterranean.