High-level EU and Turkish officials to convene, signalling potential amends

High-level EU and Turkish officials to convene, signalling potential amends

EU officials will host Turkish President Erdogan in Varna, Bulgaria today to discuss mending relations.

Erdogan Rueters

Photo: Reuters

EU officials will host Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Varna, Bulgaria today to discuss “matters of mutual interest and recent developments in [Turkey]”, according to the invitation extended to Erdogan.

Following two years of deteriorating relations following Erdogan’s 2016 political crackdown, Ankara appears eager to mend ties. In January, Erdogan met French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss new customs and visa agreements.

While many EU leaders remain sceptical, Turkey’s bid for accession to the bloc is ongoing. Primary reasons for Turkey’s denial have been rule of law issues and Erdogan’s authoritarianism, topics for today’s talks.

The meeting in Varna is a major step for both sides, showing the possibility for cooperation on pressing issues, especially immigration. With another populist victory in Italy, the pressure is on European leadership to address immigration issues, which necessitate Turkey’s involvement.

Expect the two sides’ mutual need to produce cooperative policy on immigration. Additionally, warming EU-Turkey relations could see Ankara’s accession bid revisited later this year if Erdogan makes political concessions.