EU plans special summit with Turkey in coming months

By bne IntelliNews December 16, 2016

The European Union plans to have a summit with Turkey in the coming months, the European Council President Donald Tusk told reporters on December 15 following a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels. No clear date and place have been decided, he added.

Tusk office said the meeting could take place after a regular EU summit in March, AP reports.

Meanwhile at the Brussels summit on December 15, the European Council reiterated its commitment to the migrant deal with Ankara that has been one of the contentious issue between the bloc and Turkey in recent months.

In March, Brussels and Ankara inked the migrant agreement which helps Europe stem the flow of refugees from the conflict-ridden Syria. Turkey hosts more than 3mn refugees, but complains that Europe is failing to deliver on its promises to share the burden.

As part of the migrant agreement, the EU pledged financial aid, a fast-track accession talks and an easing of visa rules for Turkish nationals. However, Brussels has not fulfilled any of these promises.

Relations between the EU and Turkey has been tense since the failed coup attempt in July as Brussels has become increasingly critical of the crackdown on supporters of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, which the government in Ankara says masterminded the botched putsch.

In the progress report released in November, the European Commission blasted Ankara for serious backsliding on freedoms, warning that the country was drifting away from Europe. Last month, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly on a resolution calling for freezing of Turkey’s accession talks. Ankara dismissed the European Parliament vote as “void and null”

For its part, Turkey accuses its Western allies of failing to show support following the coup attempt and of underestimating the threats Turkey is facing.

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