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TURKEY: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to normalize his relations with the European Union

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, wants to ease tensions between his country and the European Union. His plan to become part of the EU is still relevant especially after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom.

The Turkish head of state wants to start 2021 under good auspices by settling disputes between Turkey and the European Union. “We are ready to get our relationship back on track,” said Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “ A statement made the day after the announcement of the resumption, on January 25, in Istanbul, of exploratory discussions between Turkey and Greece with a view to settling their dispute over hydrocarbon exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey’s accession process to the EU, which began in 2005, has been stalled for several years, but Turkey still aspires to be part of the bloc. The departure of the United Kingdom could well play in favor of Ankara. The uncertainty created by Brexit could be overcome, according to Erdogan, if Turkey takes the place it deserves within the EU family.

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The French Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, said that the EU’s firmness towards Turkey is bearing fruit. “We are recording signals and statements from Turkey. We accept the omen. Let’s see if they come true,” he said.

The Turkish President also wants to bury the hatchet with France. “We want to save our relations with France, which is our neighbour because it is a country bordering the Mediterranean, from this phase of tensions,” Erdogan said. 

Tensions between the two countries were exacerbated in October when Erdogan challenged President Emmanuel Macron’s “mental health” in response to his speech against Islamist “separatism” in France and for defending the right to caricature the prophet Mohamed. In particular, he accused the French President of carrying out a «hate campaign» against Islam.

       

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