9 March 2020 Erdoğan meets with EU leaders to discuss the future of EU-Turkish cooperation


The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the President of the European Council Charles Michel met with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Brussels and discussed EU-Turkish cooperation in relation to the development of the conflict in the Syrian region of Idlib. Talks between EU leaders and high-level Turkish interlocutors have been taking place in the past days as a result of Ankara’s decision to open its borders with Europe. After the 9 March meeting in Brussels, EUCO President Charles Michel stated that the leaders had exchanged “views on different topics related to the relationship between Turkey and the European Union” and shared opinions on the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement of 18 March 2016. The EU representatives declared that the 2016 deal remains valid, but they tasked HR/VP Josep Borrell, together with his Turkish counterpart, with the reviewing of the Statement in order to identify all the differences in its interpretation, so that they can be resolved. The importance of continuing to work with Turkey in the framework of the agreement was also highlighted by Borrell after his meetings with Turkish representatives on 3-4 March. In their two-day visit to Ankara, him and Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič met with Erdoğan and with different Turkish ministers and called for the implementation of a new dynamic in EU-Turkey relations. Again, after the informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers held on 5 March in Zagreb, Borrell reiterated that even if relations with Turkey are difficult, “we have to improve them from different points of view”. He added that “we have been accumulating difficulties and we have to restart a new approach to overcome these difficulties”.