EU says no concrete answers from Turkey’s Erdoğan on issues of concern

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European Union President Donald Tusk (L) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) attend a join news conference with Bulgarian Prime Minister and European Commission in Varna on March 26, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF

European Union leaders on Monday said they received no concrete answers from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to a long list of concerns, from Turkey’s operation in Syria to the jailing of journalists, Reuters reported.

“We didn’t achieve any kind of concrete compromise today,” European Council President Donald Tusk told reporters after talks with Erdoğan in the Bulgarian costal town of Varna.

“But I still hope that will be possible in the future… Only progress on these issues will allow us to improve EU-Turkey relations, including the accession process,” he said.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) wrote a letter to European Union leaders in advance of the summit asking them to press Erdoğan for the restoration of pluralism in Turkey, the lifting of a state of emergency in effect since a coup attempt in July 2016 and the release of all wrongfully imprisoned journalists.

Rebecca Harms, spokeswoman for foreign affairs and expert on Turkey in the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, initiated an open letter with other lawmakers in which they urged EU leaders to bring human rights to the center of EU relations with Turkey and press Turkish Erdoğan to secure the release of dozens of journalists and many others unjustly jailed in Turkey.

The letter was sent to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk ahead of their meeting with President Erdoğan at the EU-Turkey summit.

In a letter to the European Union’s top officials, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) last week asked the union to call for the release of jailed Turkish journalists as a matter of priority during the meeting in Varna.

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