Turkey urges EU to keep promises for closer cooperation

The Turkish leader on Sunday urged the EU to keep its promises to establish a closer cooperation together.

"We call on the European Union to keep the promises made to our country from full membership to migration, so we can build a closer, more efficient cooperation," President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party's regular provincial congresses.

Erdoğan attended the meetings held in five provinces via video link from Istanbul.

Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987 and its accession talks began in 2005. But negotiations stalled in 2007 due to objections of the Greek Cypriot administration, as well as opposition from Germany and France.

Ankara has also repeatedly complained that Brussels has failed to keep its promises under the 2016 EU-Turkey migration deal to help migrants and stem further migrant waves.

Turkey currently hosts over 3.6 million Syrians, making it the world's top refugee-hosting country.

Erdoğan said Turkey also wishes to improve cooperation with the US.

"We believe that we have a lot of work to do at regional and global level with the US that respects Turkey's sensitivity to its border security and defense needs," he added.

The president said Turkey has been the strongest member of Western alliances, especially NATO, adding that Western countries are always the first choice for Ankara from defense to trade.

"However, this does not mean that we are going to bow down to explicit attacks against our country and our nation, injustices imposed under different disguises, and double standards," he warned.

COVID-19 MEASURES

On the latest COVID-19 restrictions, including a partial curfew, in Turkey, Erdoğan expressed hope for a downward slope in caseload.

He said if the Turkish nation complies with the new measures, the situation could get better in a few weeks.

"Otherwise, we have to continue the restrictions and may even take additional measures," the president said.

Starting this week, Turkey has imposed a weekend curfew, 8 p.m. to 10 a.m. local time, as part of efforts to stem the virus' spread.

The country has registered nearly 441,000 infections of the novel virus, including over 12,000 deaths and 370,825 recoveries, to date.

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