Turkey disappointed at EU summit outcome

Turkey disappointed at EU summit outcome

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Ankara: Turkey on Friday expressed disappointment after an EU summit ended with a critical statement about Ankara’s rights record and no clear progress on a customs treaty or commitment on aid.

The European Union introduced a series of incentives in March to persuade President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to fulfill his promise to improve tensions.

Brussels is preparing a plan to provide Turkey with 3.5 billion euros (US$4.2 billion) in additional funds from 2021 to 2024 to help it host millions of refugees from Syria.

Leaders at the summit on Thursday told the European Commission’s executive body to put forward a formal proposal “without delay.”

But they did not outline a timetable and added that “Turkey’s fundamental rights are still a key issue”.

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the statement was “far from what was expected or necessary.”

“In order to reduce tensions and start dialogue and cooperation, Turkey has done more than its share,” it said.

Ankara has been at particular odds with France and historic rival Greece over Turkish drilling operations near the divided island of Cyprus and search for natural gas in disputed eastern Mediterranean waters.

But Ankara and Athens have resumed direct talks about their dispute for the first time since 2016 and Turkey has pulled back its research vessels from the contested areas of the sea.

Erdogan and French President Emmanuel Macron also tried to quell their war of words by exchanging personal letters and meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit this month.

Ankara expressed particular disappointment at Brussels’ limited progress in upgrading the tariff treaty reached between the two parties in 1995.

The ministry called the lack of clear progress in the agreement “a delaying strategy and lack of goodwill.”

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