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Turkey seeks to build its future with Europe, Erdoğan says

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on the European Union for dialogue, saying that Turkey seeks to build its future with Europe and sees itself nowhere else but in the continent.

The president on Saturday gave an speech online, as part of COVID-19 measures, during his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) 7th ordinary provincial congresses in Kütahya, Afyonkarahisar, Batman and Siirt provinces.

“We see ourselves in Europe, not anywhere else. We look to build our future with Europe,” Erdoğan said, emphasizing that Turkey wants to enhance its cooperation with allies and that Ankara has no problems with any country that cannot be solved through dialogue and diplomacy.

“We expect the EU to keep its promises and not engage in discrimination against us, at least not to be a party to the acts of public hostility targeting our country,” he added.
Erdoğan’s message came as EU leaders are to decide at a December summit whether to impose sanctions over Turkey’s exploration of disputed waters in the Mediterranean.

Foreign policy chief Josep Borrell from the EU, which has so far refrained from imposing the sanctions that Athens and Nicosia are seeking, on Thursday said, “Time is running, and we are approaching a watershed moment in our relationship with Turkey.”

The Turkish president also noted on Saturday that Ankara wants to use its longstanding and close relations with Washington to resolve regional and global issues.

US-Turkish relations have deteriorated since 2016 over several issues that include Ankara’s purchase of a Russian S-400 air defense system, differences in policy toward Syrian Kurds, an ongoing legal case that involves a state bank and high-ranking officials in a sanctions-busting scheme and the detention of US consulate employees and citizens in Turkey.

“We will find a proper place in the post-pandemic world by improving our judicial infrastructure, strengthening the foundations of our economy and increasing production and employment,” the president said, in reference to his recent pledges, which have been echoed by his justice minister, of sweeping economic and judicial reforms that are meant to restore investor confidence in Turkey’s battered economy.

Erdoğan promised last week that Turkey was entering a new period for both the economy and the judiciary and that parliament would prioritize the new judicial reform packages next year, receiving harsh criticism for not being sincere in his pledges.

Promises of reform have become a recurring theme in the speeches of Erdoğan and members of his AKP since early November, when a sudden reshuffling of Turkey’s top economy team, including the resignation of Berat Albayrak, the finance minister and also Erdoğan’s son-in-law, took place.
Opponents called the Turkish president’s reform pledges into question, citing the country’s past record on the rule of law, democracy, human rights and freedoms, and management of the economy.

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