European Parliament President Martin Schulz completed his two-day visit on Thursday evening with a visit to the southeastern province of Gaziantep.
On the first day of his visit, Schulz met with Turkish authorities, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkır and the Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek, as well as political party leaders. Turkey's EU enlargement process, geopolitical developments in the Middle East, the humanitarian crisis in Syria, bilateral and regional trade relations between the EU and Turkey, internal reforms, human rights and media freedoms were among the issues Schulz discussed while in Ankara.
According to diplomatic sources, in his meeting with Schulz, Çavuşoğlu expressed satisfaction with recent mutual visits between Turkey and the EU. In the meeting, Çavuşoğlu also underlined his expectation that Chapter 17 of Turkey's stalled EU accession process, on economic and monetary policies, would be opened after Ankara submitted a position paper to Brussels on March 13. Sources also said that Çavuşoğlu and Schulz further discussed the Cyprus peace talks, which are expected to resume between Greek and Turkish Cyprus in a few weeks, and the Armenian resolution that is expected be voted on in the European Parliament next week regarding the forced relocation of Armenians by Ottoman forces during World War I.
Bozkır also informed Schulz about Turkey's expectation of the EU opening new accession chapters and the abolishment of visa requirements. In his meeting with Schulz, Çiçek called on the EU for closer international collaboration against terrorist organizations. "Turkey attaches importance to cooperation in fighting terrorism," Çiçek said at their meeting at Parliament. Çiçek said that one country's fight against terrorism was not enough to solve everything, citing incidents taking place in Syria and Iraq.
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