Progress needed on improving Ankara-EU ties, Erdoğan tells EU’s Michel


Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan told European Council President Charles Michel on Monday that progress was needed on reviving relations between Ankara and the bloc, in areas including the Customs Union and visa liberalisation.

Turkey expects “concrete steps” from the EU on holding a regional conference with eastern Mediterranean states, Erdoğan told Michel in a phone call, the presidency said.

Erdoğan also said Greece was “continuing steps to escalate tensions in the eastern Mediterranean despite Turkey’s well-intentioned approach,” it said.

The call between Erdoğan and Michel arrives amid renewed tensions between Turkey and Greece over hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

On Monday, Turkey’s Oruç Reis vessel set sail to carry out seismic exploration in the contested waters, in a move that has prompted Athens to issue a navigational warning for the same area from the island of Crete.

Greece has also issued a new demand for EU sanctions on Turkey in an ongoing row over offshore exploration rights.

The EU has already threatened sanctions against Turkey should it resume the search for hydrocarbons, which it labelled as provocative and illegal after a summit of its political leaders on Oct. 1-2.



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