Turkey gears up to normalise ties with EU

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Ankara, July 25 (IANS) Turkey is gearing up for seeking reconciliation with the European Union (EU) following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s victory in the June 24 elections.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday vowed to restore ties with its European partners, which have been strained by tension in the past few years, Xinhua news agency reported.

“In the new term, we will make further efforts to resolve current problems,” Cavusoglu was quoted by the media as saying.

“Normalisation with the Netherlands has already started. We have good dialogue with France. In the upcoming period we will realize tripartite and quartet meetings in Europe,” he said.

In the past few years, especially after the 2016 failed coup, Turkey’s ties with its European partners, including Germany, Netherlands and Austria, have deteriorated due to the campaign tours by Turkish officials targeting Turkish diaspora in the European countries and the EU criticism of Turkish massive crackdown on dissidents.

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The tensions in the Turkey-EU ties have adversely affected Ankara’s EU membership bid.

Cavusoglu was pessimistic about resuming EU membership talks, but adding that his government should continue reforms whether Turkey’s EU process gains momentum or not.

“Maybe, we cannot take many steps on the process of membership, but we can enhance our cooperation on other issues,” he said, underlining the mutual interests of Turkey and the EU for upgrading existing Customs Union agreement.

Experts said that the Turkish minister’s remarks signalled Ankara’s wiliness to reconcile with EU countries, which could pave the way for restarting the membership talks.

“Normalisation of the relations between Turkey and the West does seem to be appearing on the horizon,” said Beril Dedeoglu, a professor of international relations at Galatasaray University, who served as the minister of EU affairs in the interim government in 2015.

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The Europeans are recently taking a “relatively milder position” towards Turkey, Dedeoglu noted.

–IANS

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