Turkey is set to expediate talks with the EU on customs union and visa liberalisation, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, adding there has been positive feedback from the bloc over Turkey’s accession process.
He made the remarks on Thursday while speaking to reporters on his flight from Vilnius, Lithuania, following the NATO summit on July 11-12, where he dropped months of objection and backed Sweden’s bid to join the military alliance, state-run TRT broadcaster reported.
“There is a positive opinion about the revitalisation of our EU membership process. We will accelerate the negotiations for the modernisation of the customs union which will have a multiplying effect on the Turkish economy. I also believe that we will observe progress on visa liberalisation,” he was quoted by TRT as saying.
Erdogan said on the sideline of the summit, he held talks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and other European leaders on the revival of Turkey’s EU membership talks, Xinhua news agency reported.
“Ursula von der Leyen also talked positively on these issues,” the Turkish President added.
The EU Council’s instruction to the EU Commission and High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, to prepare a report on ties with Turkey was another “positive move,” he said.
Ankara wants to upgrade the 1996-dated customs union with the block, but some EU members drag feet due to political reasons. Turkey also wants to start visa-free travel in the EU for Turkish citizens.
Before attending the summit, Erdogan told the media that Turkey will give consent for Sweden’s NATO bid only if Ankara’s accession process with the EU is resumed.