EU eyes close cooperation with new Turkish govt

EU eyes close cooperation with new Turkish govt

Mogherini says EU wants to continue close cooperation with new govt in addressing refugee crisis, intl problems

BERLIN (AA) - The EU’s foreign policy chief said Thursday that she expects the new Turkish government to endorse the EU-Turkey deal reached with the previous government and continue close cooperation to address the refugee crisis.

“We concluded an agreement with the Turkish government, not with one person,” the EU’s Federica Mogherini told German daily Die Welt, dismissing speculations about the future of the EU-Turkey deal after this weekend’s departure of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

“If the new Turkish government would decide for a policy change, than we must discuss this. But I expect the new government to endorse this agreement,” she added.

Davutoglu’s announcement early this month that he would not serve out his full term led to media speculation about the future of the EU-Turkey deal, which was hammered out by European leaders and Davutoglu to stop illegal migration and accelerate Turkey’s EU membership process.

Mogherini underlined the importance of enhancing cooperation between the EU and Turkey, despite current hurdles in implementing the refugee deal, and promised visa liberalization for Turkish citizens.

“It is not only about the refugee problem, we have a wider political agenda with Turkey,” she said.

“Both of us would like to see an end to the civil war in Syria, a solution to the Cyprus problem, and both of us face the terrorism threat. We can be partners in many fields, and there is a political will on the European side to cooperate with Turkey in a constructive way,” she added.

The EU-Turkey deal aims to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of Syrian refugees in Turkey.

It also allows for the acceleration of Turkey’s EU membership bid and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area, on the condition that Ankara meets 72 requirements set by the EU.

Ankara has met most of the requirements, but the EU’s demands for change in Turkey’s anti-terrorism law have led to a deadlock in negotiations.

Mogherini expressed hope for reviving Turkey’s stalled membership talks, despite current disagreements between Brussels and Ankara over the fight against terrorism, human rights, and press freedom.

"I very much hope that the EU can open two new chapters in Turkey’s membership talks within this year -- Chapters 23 and 24 on democratic rights, basic freedoms and justice,” she said.

"These chapters are crucial in order to address significant questions. But before opening these chapters, the necessary criteria should be fulfilled," she added.

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