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UPDATE - Turkey, EU hold talks on bilateral relations

UPDATE - Turkey, EU hold talks on bilateral relations
'Our relations with Turkey in terms of foreign affairs has become EU's most important issue,' says top EU diplomat

By Dilara Hamit

ANKARA (AA) - Turkey and the EU on Monday discussed bilateral relations and latest developments in the region.

"Turkey will support the EU's mediation on energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean as long as it is an honest broker," said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, following his meeting with the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in the capital Ankara.

He added that Turkey has always been fair and transparent in its relations with the EU and it expects the same from the latter.

Cavusoglu emphasized that if the EU took additional decisions against Turkey, the country would have no choice but to respond.

Borrell said the EU held extensive discussions on Turkey, which he said is a key partner and candidate to join the bloc.

He asserted that relations between the EU and Turkey have become one of the most important issues.

Borrell added that though it was not the best period in relations, the sides needed to work together to improve ties.

On the issue of migration, Cavusoglu said he expects the EU will act on the basis of common values.

"We have a deal on migration [and] anyone with an objective perspective can easily tell which party has been fair.

"Supporting Turkey on the one hand, but not complying with requirements will not resolve problems, it will further deepen the problems," Cavusoglu said.

- EU Visa Liberalization

Cavusoglu noted that Turkey has fulfilled 67 criteria for the visa liberalization with the EU.

"Maybe the EU is not in favor of it, but the visa liberalization is a promise made by the EU. Even if you like it or not, you have to fulfill and deliver this promise because we have done what was required.

"We have taken some positive steps and we also want the EU to take these steps," he said.

Speaking about the recent tensions with France over a claim of vessel harassment in the Mediterranean, Cavusoglu said: "We have proved everything that happened and the EU and NATO cannot prove otherwise. France has not acted with honesty. Therefore, France should apologize from Turkey and extend their apologies to the EU and NATO."

France last week claimed that Turkey harassed one of its vessels taking part in a NATO mission in the Mediterranean. Turkish military officials denied the allegations.

The meeting came in the wake of controversial visits by Borrell to Turkey's neighbor Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration.

Ankara has voiced concern on a lack of equitable treatment of itself and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on issues such as the allocation of Eastern Mediterranean energy resources, as well as on reports of abuse of asylum seekers by Athens.

source: News Feed
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