Turkey wants an update of the 2016 refugee deal with EU and the continuation of positive relations with the bloc, said the Turkish deputy foreign minister on Saturday.
Faruk Kaymakci, who is also Turkey’s director for EU affairs, talked to Anadolu Agency exclusively ahead of Europe Day, which is marked on May 9 every year.
Noting that Turkey has been one of the founding members of the Council of Europe, Kaymakci said that the country’s Europeanness is not only through the EU, for which it has officially been a candidate since 1999.
Evaluating the Turkish people’s perspective on the EU, he reiterated that the overwhelming majority of the population supports membership to the bloc, and believes that the country has the potential to be a full member.
Kaymakci stressed the recent visit of EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel to Ankara has manifested the bloc’s interest in Turkey.
“Turkey wants to proceed to the positive agenda after the EU Summit in June 2021, if not earlier than that date. By positive agenda, we refer to the updated March 18, 2016 refugee deal with them,” he noted.
Reinstating Turkey’s anticipation for improvement in all domains of Turkish-EU relations, Kaymakci said: “We hope that the EU leadership wouldn’t sacrifice relations to the Cyprus issue, and maximalist and unreasonable demands [of some countries].”
* Writing by Ahmet Gencturk