A few days before the EU summit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a telephone conversation on Monday with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen to discuss EU-Turkey relations and the updating of the 1995 Customs Union agreement.
According to the Turkish Communications Directorate, the Turkish President called on the EU President to start talks on the updating of the customs union as soon as possible without conditions.
“Turkey has done its part and now it is the EU’s turn to take” concrete measures, “Erdogan told von der Leyen, the statement added.
Turkey has long pushed for a revision of the 25-year-old agreement, saying it would benefit both the EU and Turkey.
According to the statement, Erdogan also said that the Turkish people have been waiting for a long time for visa liberalization – something that was promised but never fulfilled in the context of the joint EU-Turkey immigration declaration in 2016 – and stressed the importance of its implementation of agreement with all its elements, as well as the strengthening of the agreement.
In a post on Twitter, the President of the European Commission stated that.
We discussed the state of EU-Turkey relations, #COVID19, Trade and the Customs Union, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, migration and developments in Afghanistan.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) June 21, 2021
“Good conversation with President Erdogan prior to the EUCO on Thursday.”
“We discussed the state of EU-Turkey relations, COVID-19, trade and the Customs Union, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, migration and developments in Afghanistan.”
Earlier Monday, however, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters that the summit would focus mainly on relations with Russia and not discuss Turkey in depth.
Von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel visited the Turkish capital, Ankara, in April.
After talks with Erdogan, Michel said the bloc was ready to present a specific agenda for boosting economic and immigration cooperation./ibna