Turkey's Erdogan asks EU to relaunch membership negotiations

Negotiations for Turkey's accession to the EU stalled over tension between bloc and Ankara

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. AFP

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday asked the EU to relaunch talks for Turkey to eventually become a member of the bloc, on the eve of a summit focused on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine has allowed Ankara to return to the international stage by offering its services as a mediator.

"We expect the EU to open quickly the chapters of the membership negotiations and to start negotiations on a customs union without yielding to cynical calculations," Mr Erdogan said after talks with visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Negotiations for Turkey's accession one day to the 27-nation EU, which began in 2005, have stalled in recent years over tension between the two sides.

In March 2016, the EU and Turkey agreed to a deal worth billions of euros, in which Turkey would take back migrants in exchange for visa liberalisation, which has yet to be introduced for Turks.

EU heads of state and government are set to meet Wednesday in Brussels for a summit aimed at dealing with the fall-out of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Nato will also hold a crisis summit on Ukraine on Thursday.

Mr Erdogan has hosted talks in the past week and a half with four EU leaders and Nato.

An ally of Kyiv and Nato member, Turkey has been trying since the start of the Ukraine crisis to mediate between Russia and Ukraine, while declining to join western sanctions against Russia.

Updated: March 22, 2022, 11:25 PM
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