Turkey-EU dialogue key for regional security: Charles Michel
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan shakes hands with European Council President Charles Michel at the G-20 summit in Rome, Italy, Oct. 31, 2021 (IHA Photo)

Turkey-EU dialogue key for regional security: Charles Michel

Dialogue between Turkey and the European Union is key for regional stability as well as security, European Council President Charles Michel said on Sunday.

Michel and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Rome and discussed bilateral relations as well as regional issues.

“Discussed developments in Afghanistan, Libya and the wider region,” Michel tweeted.

Turkey-EU relations are marked by disputes on several issues, including tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey’s role in Syria, the migrant crisis and the stalemate in Turkey’s accession process to join the bloc.

Turkey has the longest history with the union and the longest negotiation process. The country signed an association agreement with the EU’s predecessor in 1964, the European Economic Community (EEC), which is usually regarded as a first step to eventually becoming a candidate. Applying for official candidacy in 1987, Turkey had to wait until 1999 to be granted the status of a candidate country. For the start of the negotiations, however, Turkey had to wait for another six years, until 2005, a uniquely long process compared with other candidates.

Erdoğan Sunday met also with leaders of France and Germany on the sidelines of the G-20 Rome summit.

Erdoğan and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron held a 50-minute closed-door meeting at the La Nuvola Convention Center, which is hosting the 2021 summit in Italy, the first in-person summit since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Separately, the Turkish president held talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel for 30 minutes behind closed doors.

The meeting was also attended by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Treasury and Finance Minister Lütfi Elvan, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın, and Justice and Development Party (AK Party) spokesperson Ömer Çelik.

Meanwhile, Olaf Scholz, the likely successor of Merkel, also joined her in the meeting with Erdoğan.

The 2021 G-20 summit has convened the leaders of the world’s 20 leading economies and representatives of international organizations. The two-day summit ended Sunday.

This article originally appeared in DAILY SABAH on 01 Nov 2021.