Turkey criticizes EU demands but says progress possible

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Turkey on Thursday criticized an EU summit that issued demands of Ankara in exchange for further cooperation but pledged to respond to gestures from Brussels with “positive steps,” Agence France-Presse reported.

“Even though the need for a positive agenda was stressed, it was found that the report was written from a unilateral point of view and under the influence of narrow-minded allegations from a few member countries,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

It said, however, that it would respond with positive steps to EU moves “in the direction of our common interests.”

European Union leaders agreed at their video summit that they are ready to boost cooperation with Turkey if a “current de-escalation is sustained” following a spike in tensions.

Relations with Ankara were on the table as the bloc plots a way forward after ties suffered last year over Turkey’s gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.

The summit conclusions said the EU “is ready to engage with Turkey in a phased, proportionate and reversible manner to enhance cooperation in a number of areas of common interest” and leaders could take further decisions in June.

But that was only “provided that the current de-escalation is sustained and that Turkey engages constructively.”

The bloc has been encouraged by the resumption of talks with Greece over a disputed maritime border and by plans to restart UN peace efforts for divided EU member state Cyprus.

But there are major concerns over Ankara’s recent moves to shut down an opposition party and its departure from a treaty on violence against women.

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