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FM: EU must see Turkey as an equal

Image of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu [File photo]

Turkey’s foreign minister yesterday urged European countries to change their view of Turkey, saying that unless the EU sees Ankara as an equal partner, “a healthy relationship won’t be possible”.

Speaking at a press conference in the capital Ankara with his visiting French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey “doesn’t want to have problems with Europe”.

“However,” Cavusoglu said, “Turkey is also not a country that bows down to impositions and double standards.”

As long as you do not see us as an equal partner, a healthy relationship cannot be expected, despite differences in standards.

Cavusoglu stressed that Turkey’s view of Europe changed over time and that European countries must similarly “change their mindset about Turkey”.

Le Drian said France expects the tensions between Germany and Turkey to be eased, adding that such tensions are also affecting France negatively.

“Tensions may happen, but we wish these difficulties to be overcome. I do not want to comment on the elections in Germany as we have a very important partnership with Germany. This tension between Turkey and Germany is not positive for us.”

Read: Turkey will never be EU member under Erdogan says Germany’s Gabriel

On a referendum set for 25 September on the secession of northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), Cavusoglu said Turkey would use its power “if needed”.

“We observe this in our bilateral relations … Americans and other countries say ‘It [KRG] is your neighbour, you have power.’ Turkey does not hesitate to use its power if needed.”

Pointing to the importance of the issue for the region, Cavusoglu said Turkey and France might take some steps together.

“In fact, the approach of France and Turkey overlaps in this regard. Such a referendum decision is a wrong decision and is not good for Turks, for Iraq, or for the region.”

Le Drian underlined the importance of “reconciliation” amid the fight against the Daesh terrorist group in Iraq and voiced France’s willingness to contribute to Iraq’s reconstruction process.

“There is a fundamental principle: Respect for the territorial integrity of Iraq. This is a basic principle in any case in terms of the peace process in the Middle East. Of course, it is also true for Syria.

“The territorial integrity and the various communities living together within the framework of this territorial integrity respecting each other and the Constitution is extremely important.”

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