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FM Çavuşoğlu: Ankara to discuss ties with EU at summit soon

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published

Turkey will hold a summit with EU leaders at the end of May following the NATO summit in Brussels to be held on May 24-25, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said yesterday.

"EU leaders will also attend the NATO summit on May 24-25. There will be meetings there and after that there will be a bigger summit, the Turkey-EU summit. The exact date will be set after the NATO meetings. In other words, there is no exact date yet," Çavuşoğlu said.

The foreign minister added that if the EU wants to continue with Turkey's accession process, it needs to learn how to deal with Turkey. "The EU knows that it made a mistake. Some foreign ministers even told me during meetings in Malta, ‘We are at fault, what can we do to correct it?'" he said, adding that Ankara has no enmity toward the EU or against its values. "The values of the bloc are also our values. Democracy, human rights and universal freedoms are not anyone's monopolies. The only problem is the EU's approach [to Turkey]."

Turkey and the EU signed a refugee deal in March 2016, which aimed to discourage illegal migration via the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of nearly 3 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey.

The deal included an aid package worth 6 billion euros ($6.8 billion) to help Turkey care for the millions of refugees hosted in the country. However, Turkey has so far received only 677 million euros ($737.56 million).

The agreement also allowed for the acceleration of Turkey's EU membership bid and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area that is comprised of most of the EU member states but the EU has been refusing to provide visa-free travel.

Meanwhile, some EU leaders have recently voiced opposition against Turkey's EU accession bid to become a member of the bloc, which Turkey has said are unfair criticisms. Ankara says that Turkey has made efforts to implement reforms as part of accession negotiations which the EU must acknowledge.

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