Turkey and European Union fail to reach ‘concrete solutions’ after talks

VARNA, Bulgaria: The EU said it failed to reach any “concrete solutions or compromises” with Turkey in talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seeking to repair their tattered relations. Erdogan held a working dinner with European Union President Donald Tusk and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker in Bulgaria with a litany of issues clouding their discussions.
These include EU alarm at Erdogan’s crackdown on perceived opponents following a coup attempt in 2016, the arrest of journalists, Turkey’s military operations against Kurds in northern Syria and squabbling over Ankara’s deal to halt the flow of refugees into Europe.
This has all whipped up an increasingly acrimonious war of words and made Turkey’s prospects of joining the EU — an objective that Erdogan insisted earlier on Monday that Turkey still pursues — appear even more remote. But despite hopes for a breakthrough at the summit in the Black Sea resort of Varna, Tusk said they made little tangible headway.
“In terms of concrete solutions, we did not reach a concrete compromise today but I still hope it will be possible in the future,” Tusk told a joint news conference.
But Erdogan struck a more optimistic tone, telling reporters: “We hope that we have left a very difficult period behind in Turkey-EU relations.”
However he added: “We don’t want rambling or unfair criticisms on sensitive issues like the fight against terror. We expect strong support.”
Juncker said the summit was one of “mixed feelings but not mixed messages”, adding: “It was a good meeting because as this is the normal principle between big democracies.” — AFP