Turkey hopes to turn a “new page” with the EU, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday in the highest-level contact with a European official since Brussels decided on sanctions last week.
“While Turkey hopes to turn a new page with the EU, some ceaselessly try to provoke crises,” Erdogan told European Council President Charles Michel in a telephone call, according to a statement from the Turkish presidency.
Erdogan called for rescuing Turkish-European relations from “this vicious circle”, adding that he hoped to “start again” in talks with the EU “on a basis of mutual interests.”
Read more: EU chief says members to weigh Turkey sanctions
The president said the 2016 deal aimed at curbing migration through Turkey to Europe in return for billions of euros in funds could be a starting point for creating a more “positive” climate.
“We hope that the EU can adopt a constructive attitude and common sense toward Turkey,” President Erdogan said.
EU leaders meeting in Brussels last Thursday decided to draw up a list of Turkish targets for sanctions over Ankara’s “unilateral actions and provocations” in the eastern Mediterranean, believed to be rich in energy resources.
.@GalipDalay: Turkey’s deepening economic ills, coupled with the prospective trans-Atlantic convergence between the EU and the Biden administration on the Eastern Mediterranean, is likely to motivate Ankara to de-escalate the situation in the area. https://t.co/ocLhGcXKXq
— Middle East Council on Global Affairs (@ME_Council) December 14, 2020
Turkey, an EU candidate country whose accession process has frozen over many issues including its human rights record, was later hit by reprisals from NATO ally the United States over its controversial acquisition of Russian air defence missiles.
But the US sanctions were lighter than feared.
Washington banned all new US export licenses and loan credits to SSB military procurement agency, and barred the agency’s executives from visiting or holding assets in the United States.
Read more: Turkey’s escalating conflict with Greece, Cyprus on table for EU meeting
Yet all existing military programs remain in place, and neither Turkish banks nor Erdogan and his inner circle are affected.