Erdogan Holds Out Olive Branch to EU

Erdogan Holds Out Olive Branch to EUErdogan Holds Out Olive Branch to EU

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed hope for a better relationship with Germany and the EU after a fractious 2017, saying Ankara needs to reduce its enemies and increase its friends, in an interview published Thursday.

The past year has seen Turkey’s long-running bid to join the EU grind to a virtual halt and a crisis in relations with Germany over the crackdown that followed the failed July 15, 2016 coup, France 24 reported.

“Of course, we want to have good relations with the EU and with EU countries,” Erdogan told Turkish journalists on his presidential plane while on a visit to Africa.

“I always say this. We must reduce the number of enemies and increase the number of friends,” he said, in comments published in Turkish newspapers.

He said there was “no reason” why he should not make trips to Germany and the Netherlands, two key EU members with whom Ankara had intense rows as they prepared for general elections in 2017.

Erdogan applauded Germany’s leadership for “being on the same line” as Ankara by strongly condemning US President’s Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Beit-ul-Moqaddas as the capital of Israel.

“All this is very gratifying,” Erdogan said.

Berlin was particularly incensed by the holding of several German nationals in a crackdown after the coup bid, although tensions have eased slightly following several releases in recent months.

Erdogan indicated that the EU’s support for his stance over Beit-ul-Moqaddas, a cause he rapidly championed following Trump’s bitterly-contested move, could be helpful in creating better relations.

Caption: Recep Tayyip Erdogan

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