Turkish-EU relations top talks during state visit to France

Turkish-EU relations top talks during state visit to France

Turkey’s President Erdogan will attempt to kick start rapprochement with the EU when he arrives at Elysee Palace today. Following the arrests of more than 55,000 people in a 2016 crackdown, relations with the EU hit a wall.  A low point was reached when Germany refused to allow Turkish officials to hold political rallies ahead

Erdogan Macron

Photo: Getty

Turkey’s President Erdogan will attempt to kick start rapprochement with the EU when he arrives at Elysee Palace today.

Following the arrests of more than 55,000 people in a 2016 crackdown, relations with the EU hit a wall.  A low point was reached when Germany refused to allow Turkish officials to hold political rallies ahead of an April referendum—a move Erdogan equated to Nazism.

Regardless, hopes of revising the EU customs agreement and visa regime have given impetus for Ankara to renew relations. If expanded, an overhauled customs agreement could add $14.6 billion to Turkey’s GDP. The finalisation of visa liberalisation means visa-free travel for Turks within the Euro bloc.

For its part, France has taken a pragmatic approach to relations with Ankara—allowing political rallies and actively calling for closer ties. Macron views Turkey as a crucial partner in combatting terrorism and addressing immigration.

Today’s meeting will reinforce a burgeoning relationship and signal a clear change in direction for Turkeys engagement with the EU.

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