Middle East

Turkey’s Erdogan, EU’s Michel discussed EU summit in call

ANKARA (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan told European Council President Charles Michel in a call that Turkey wants to build its future with the EU, calling for Ankara and the bloc to move on from a “vicious cycle” in ties, the Turkish presidency said late on Tuesday.

At a summit on Friday, EU leaders agreed to prepare limited sanctions on Turkish individuals over a row with members Greece and Cyprus over hydrocarbon exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, but postponed discussions on any harsher steps until March.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after the summit that EU leaders planned to discuss weapons exports to Turkey with NATO allies following a Greek push for an arms embargo on Ankara.

The Turkish presidency said that Erdogan urged Michel to take a more constructive approach toward Turkey.

“During the call, President Erdogan stated that Turkey aimed to build its future with the EU, and that they considered every positive step in Turkey-EU ties as a window of opportunity,” the presidency said.

Erdogan also reiterated that Turkey was ready to launch bilateral talks with Greece on their maritime claims, but accused Athens of “running from talks”. He repeated a call for a regional east Mediterranean conference.

Turkey sent a seismic exploration vessel into waters also claimed by Greece in August, stoking tensions. The EU, led by Germany, has sought without success to resolve the dispute. Turkey has repeatedly accused the bloc of being biased.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Dominic Evans

IMAGE: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a meeting with EU Council President Charles Michel in Brussels, Belgium March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

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