Michel agrees on beneficial Euro-Turkish co-operation, stresses protection of EU and member states’ interests

“Today we had sincere talks with President Erdogan on the future of Euro-Turkish relations,” European Council President Charles Michel said after a meeting in Ankara with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“At last month ‘s European Council, we discussed the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the EU’ s relations with Turkey,” Michel said.

“The EU ‘s strategic interest remains in a stable and secure environment in the Eastern Mediterranean and in a mutually beneficial and positive relationship with Turkey.”

The EC President welcomed the continuation of bilateral exploratory talks between Greece and Turkey and the forthcoming visit of the Greek Foreign Minister to Turkey.

Regarding Cyprus, Charles Michel said: “The EU remains committed to resuming settlement talks. As an active observer, the EU fully supports the UN-sponsored process and we expect an informal meeting within a few weeks. In recent months, we have seen a “This is a positive development that needs to be maintained and strengthened.”

The European Commissioner later noted that he told President Erdogan that “the EU is ready to put a concrete and positive agenda on the table, based on three pillars: economic cooperation, migration and people-to-people contacts and mobility. Our commitment will be “Progressive, proportionate and reversible. And we hope that Turkey will take advantage of this window of opportunity.”

Elaborating on the issue, Charles Michel said “the EU is by far Turkey’s largest trading partner. Economic co-operation will be examined in various fields. The European Council called on the Commission to start preparatory work.”

He added that “we will also see high-level dialogue on issues of common interest, such as regional issues, public health, climate change and the fight against terrorism. And we will explore ways to increase collaboration in people-to-people contacts and mobility. “

Regarding migration, Michel said: “We appreciate Turkey for hosting 4 million Syrian refugees and we agree that EU assistance will continue. The commission will soon present a proposal for financing Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. “

Commenting on the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights that represent the fundamental values ​​of the EU, the European official said: “We shared with President Erdogan our deep concern over recent developments in Turkey in this regard, in particular freedom of expression. and the intent of political parties and the media ”.

Referring to Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention and the promotion of women’s rights, he said this has raised serious concerns in Europe. “This morning, I had a very interesting meeting on these issues with representatives of the United Nations and UN Women. “Dialogue on these issues remains an essential part of the Euro-Turkish relationship,” Michel said.

As Charles Michel pointed out to the Turkish President, “we also discussed regional and foreign policy issues. The differences are still there, but new opportunities for peace and stability are emerging, especially in Libya, which I visited last Sunday. We “We have a critical message in this regard: all fighters and foreign troops must leave Libya.”

Summing up, Charles Michel stated that “The European Union has a strategic interest in developing cooperation and a mutually beneficial relationship with Turkey. At the same time, we are determined to protect the interests of the EU and the Member States and to promote the values ours.

We extend our hand to our progressive agenda. And it is up to Turkey to seize this opportunity in a sustainable and sustainable way. For its part, the EU is ready to start the debate. We will assess progress at the European Council meeting in June. ”

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