World Desk : Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday voiced hope that a difficult period in relations between Turkey and the European Union is now in the past.Erdogan spoke after talks with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov in the Bulgarian Black Sea resort of Varna. “I hope that we have left a tough period in the relations between Turkey and Europe behind us,” Erdogan said and voiced hope that “a first step was taken here toward restoring trust with Europe.”
He also said that EU membership was a “strategic goal.” Tusk said that the summit’s purpose was to “continue the dialogue in really difficult circumstances.” “Our meeting today demonstrated that while our relationship is going through difficult times, in areas where we do cooperate, we cooperate well,” Tusk said. He acknowledged that no concrete compromise or solution had been achieved at the summit, but expressed hope that such would be possible in the future.
“Only progress on these issues will allow us to improve the EU-Turkey relations, including the accession process,” he added. “We reconfirm our readiness to keep up the dialogue and conversation and work together to overcome current difficulties with a view to unleashing the potential of our partnership,” Tusk said.
On migration and support for refugees, Tusk said that the EU and Turkey remain very close partners. “I would like to express our appreciation for the impressive work Turkey has been doing, and to sincerely thank Turkey and the Turkish people for hosting more than 3 million Syrian refugees these past years,” he said. “The EU has lent substantial support to improve the livelihood of these refugees, and this evening we reaffirmed the European Union’s unwavering commitment to continue this support,” Tusk said.