Turkey, EU agree on plan of actions to improve relations, says Erdogan

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Turkey and the European Union reached agreement on the year-long plan of actions to improve bilateral relations which had deteriorated in the wake of 2016 failed coup attempt in Turkey, the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

“We have received from [EU authorities] the timetable for 12 months. In accordance with it, we will make further movements,” Erdogan said as quoted by Turkish newspaper Haberturk.

Erdogan added that the schedule implied the liberalisation of visa regime and granting EU finance assistance to Turkey for dealing with the refugee issue.

The statement was made following Thursday’s NATO Summit in Brussels, during which Erdogan held meetings with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker as well as a number of the EU member states’ leaders.

Over the recent months, Turkey has been facing harsh criticism from the EU authorities in relation to a number of issues, including carrying out a referendum in April to extend presidential powers.

Apart from this, on 24 November, European lawmakers voted in favor of freezing EU accession talks with Turkey until it lifts restrictive measures, which had been in place in the country since the failed coup of July 2016.

Earlier in May, the Turkish leader said Ankara was interested in the continuation of the process of its accession to the European Union with the mutually beneficial outcome for both sides. The statement came after Erdogan’s earlier threat to say “goodbye” to the European Union unless the process of Turkey’s accession to the bloc was moving forward.