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Turkey wants to take relations with EU to new phase: Albayrak

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Turkey wants to take its relations with the European Union to a new phase at a time when its trade with the bloc is more important than ever, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said during a press conference with his French counterpart, with both sides underlining the importance of Turkish-EU ties, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.

Speaking at a news conference with Bruno Le Maire in Paris on Monday, Albayrak said recent unilateral steps taken by the United States had shown relations between Turkey and the EU were more important than ever.

“We want to take relations with the European Union to a new phase,” Albayrak said, adding that Turkey wanted to increase trade with France — now at 14 billion euros—to 20 billion euros.

The French minister encouraged Turkey to use all available economic policy tools to ensure sustainable growth.

“It is in everyone’s interest, in France, in Turkey, in Europe, that the situation stabilizes in Turkey,” Le Maire told reporters in the wake of a significant hit to the Turkish lira amid strained ties between Turkey and the US over the trial of an American evangelical pastor.

Le Maire said Albayrak had stressed his country’s commitment to structural reforms.

“France encourages Turkish authorities to give this absolute priority … by using all leverage available through economic policy,” he noted.

Recent steps taken by the United States against Turkey are politically motivated and could serve to ultimately increase regional terrorism and the refugee crisis, Albayrak also said during the press conference.

“We talked about the recent trade sanctions imposed by the United States. … Such decisions will negatively affect regional stability and increase both regional terror and the refugee crisis,” he said, adding that Turkey and France had decided to act together on these issues.

He also said they talked about acting in concert regarding trade decisions against Turkey and the EU in violation of World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

“We are on the same page regarding Iran with France,” Albayrak also said.

The Turkish minister in addition noted recent steps taken by the US are isolating it from its allies.

“The [US] dollar is losing its status as an instrument of global trade,” he added.

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