In the wake of strained relations with Ankara, EU leaders have called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to take concrete steps to reduce tensions and build trust.
EU leaders discussed critical issues in a video conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday evening, March 19, ahead of next week's summit on Brussels-Ankara relations.
A statement issued by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen following the talks said: We continue to work together to further reduce tensions and build trust between the EU and Turkey with a view to a more positive agenda. He stressed the importance of strengthening the party.
The statement added that during the talks, the President of the Union Commission "discussed the situation of Syrian refugees in Turkey and the situation in Libya and Syria.
The video conference was held between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ursula von der Leyen, and EU Council President Charles Michel to improve Brussels and Ankara's relations. Relations between Turkey and the European bloc have deteriorated in recent years.
Why do Turkish-European relations deteriorate?
The European Union and Turkey have been at loggerheads over President Erdogan's style of politics, Turkey's direct intervention in Libya, Syria, and Nagorno-Karabakh, and tensions with Greece Cyprus over the search for energy reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean. One allegation is that Turkey uses the presence of Syrian refugees to get maximum concessions from the European Union.
Next Monday, EU foreign ministers will discuss a joint report on relations with Turkey, followed by a conference of EU heads of state and government on the same subject.
The meeting is also expected to discuss progress by European leaders on financial aid to Turkey to prevent refugees from coming to Europe.
How does Erdogan view the improvement in relations?
A statement issued by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office following the video call said that Turkey is expected to hold talks next week on "concrete steps aimed at rebuilding relations." Will be.'
The Turkish President said that he hoped that the EU report would be based on impartial and constructive thinking. It would be possible to move forward. President Erdogan also told Brussels that Cyprus and Greece should focus on dialogue in the Eastern Mediterranean conflict instead of dominating by forming a 'gang' against Ankara.
The three leaders also discussed a visit to Turkey soon, according to an EU statement.
East Mediterranean conflict
There is no maritime border between Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean waters, and the three countries claim some of the region's richest natural gas reserves. Turkey maintains that it has a legal right to the sea. Bilateral tensions between Turkey and Greece have escalated in recent months over the Eastern Mediterranean dispute, even though the two states are members of the Western defense alliance NATO.