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Erdogan tells Merkel Turkey wants to turn over new leaf with EU

Published: Updated:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday told German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a videoconference call Turkey wants to turn over a new leaf with the European Union, the Turkish presidency said.

EU leaders meeting in Brussels last week decided to draw up a list of Turkish targets for sanctions over Ankara’s “unilateral actions and provocations” in the eastern Mediterranean, believed to be rich in energy resources.

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“President Erdogan during the meeting said Turkey wants to open a new page in its relations with the EU, as he thanked Merkel for her constructive contributions and efforts on Turkey-EU relations,” the presidency said.

Erdogan said there was a new “window of opportunity” for Turkey-EU relations to strengthen but some countries were “trying to create a crisis” that would damage “this positive agenda”, it added in a statement.

He did not name which countries but Turkey has been at loggerheads with EU member states Greece and Cyprus -- backed by France -- in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey and Greece previously agreed to discussions over the disputed waters but nothing concrete has taken place.

Erdogan accused Greece of running away from talks, but insisted Turkey’s attitude was “constructive.”

He also called for an update to the 2016 deal aimed at cutting migration to Europe in return for financial aid, which he said would be “the key to a positive agenda.”

The EU on Thursday said it allocated to Turkey the full six billion euros promised for refugees in the agreement.