The meeting between EU and Turkish leaders, which is expected to be held on March 26 in Bulgaria's port city of Varna, is projected to give new momentum to Ankara's strained ties with the bloc as it will be an opportunity to work on disputed issues and take some concrete steps.
"The EU summit is significant for us. We expect that this summit will provide momentum to ties with the EU," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a press conference in Ankara on March 23.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will meet European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Ju
ncker and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, whose country currently holds the EU term presidency, to discuss the relations between Turkey and the EU.
In a statement released on Friday, the presidency said the meeting will be an "opportunity to discuss EU-Turkish bilateral ties as well as regional and international developments."
Aksoy also said that the steps for visa liberalization and accelerating the delivery of financial aid to Syrian refugees are also expected. "Turkey's most significant expectation is the ending of political and artificial gridlock regarding Turkey's negotiation process," Aksoy said. "The EU needs to fulfill its responsibilities and present a more constructive stance for trust building."
Borissov on Friday said: "The meeting in Varna is likely to be one of the last opportunities to maintain dialogue. … Hosting the meeting will be a great responsibility for Bulgaria, a demonstration of trust, but at the same time, there are great expectations. Every country has firmly declared that dialogue with Turkey, in this case in Varna, should continue."
Meanwhile, Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Ömer Çelik underlined that the statement on Turkey in the EU Council Conclusions adopted just before the Turkey-EU Summit is unacceptable.
"It is so unfortunate that the people who told us that the Greek Cypriots and Greeks were responsible for the failure of the Crans-Montana talks for a Cyprus solution have made such a statement," Çelik said.
He pointed out that the Turkey-EU Summit in Varna is an important opportunity to move relations forward. "We will go to Varna with a sincere, well-intentioned and constructive understanding. We hope to see the EU side bring the same approach to Varna," Çelik added.