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Turkey calls on EU to 'keep promises of closer cooperation'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey on 17 November 2020 [Halil Sağırkaya/Anadolu Agency]
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey on 17 November 2020 [Halil Sağırkaya/Anadolu Agency]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday urged the European Union (EU) to keep its promises to establish closer cooperation.

"We call on the European Union to keep the promises made to our country from full membership to migration, so we can build a closer, more efficient cooperation," Erdogan told his ruling Justice and Development Party during a virtual meeting, Anadolu Agency reported.

Turkey applied for membership in the bloc in 1987 and four years ago signed a deal with the EU to manage the flow of migrants to Europe. But the application was suspended as both sides have accused the other of "not properly implementing the refugee agreement."

Turkey currently hosts over 3.6 million Syrian refugees, making it the world's top refugee-hosting country, according to Anadolu.

Erdogan also warned the bloc against becoming a "tool for enmities" in the escalating tensions over the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey's deployment of a vessel to search for natural gas in Miditerranean waters claimed by Greece has set off a dispute between Ankara and the EU states which early this month extended sanctions against the Middle Eastern country for another year.

READ: Turkey to impose new measures to fight coronavirus surge, Erdogan says

"We don't see ourselves elsewhere but in Europe," the Turkish leader stressed, adding that he was envisaging building his country's "future together with Europe."

He stressed he was hoping to "improve mutual cooperation with the United States." "We believe that we have a lot of work to do at regional and global level with the US that respects Turkey's sensitivity to its border security and defense needs," Erdogan said.

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