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11 May, 2021
 
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Top EU officials head to Turkey in bid to improve ties

The Presidents of the European Council and European Commission will be holding talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and gauging his commitment to “turn a new page” in relations

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council chief Charles Michel are headed to Turkey on Tuesday on an official visit aimed at improving ties between Brussels and Ankara.

The officials will be holding talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and gauging his commitment to “turn a new page” in relations with the European Union, which have soured over energy rights and tensions with Greece and Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean, among other issues.

Brussels is also seeking to extend the 2016 migration agreement with Turkey, which, in turn, is expected to demand more funding for hosting millions of refugees on its territory.

According to Agence France-Presse, citing an EU official, Tuesday’s meeting “will not be a moment of negotiations” but rather a chance for the sides to lay out their terms for improved ties.

The terms, as set out by EU leaders during March’s European Council summit, involve a positive attitude on the part of Turkey in relation to upcoming Cyprus problem talks, cooperation in the dialogue opening up with Greece, and a reversal of the negative domestic human rights trend. Turkey will also be called to maintain a calm climate in the Eastern Mediterranean by ensuring its exploratory and drilling vessels do not return to the areas under dispute by Greece and Cyprus.

[Includes reporting from Kathimerini Greece]

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