President Erdoğan, President of the European Council Michel talk over phone

President Erdoğan, President of the European Council Michel talk over phone

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke by phone with President of the European Council Charles Michel.

The call addressed regional matters, the developments in Afghanistan and the migration issue in particular, and steps to enhance Türkiye-EU relations.

President Erdoğan voiced his satisfaction over the decision to include Türkiye in the EU Digital COVID Certificate.

President Erdoğan reiterated Türkiye’s expectation that the EU membership negotiations be restarted, the Customs Union be updated, and the 18 March Agreement, the visa liberalisation in particular, be put into effect in its entirety.

Noting that the recent developments in Afghanistan demonstrated the importance of Türkiye joining the EU’s Pesco project in defence and security, President Erdoğan said that Türkiye’s current priority was sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan and also the evacuation of its citizens there.

Stating that they met many European countries’ request for evacuation, President Erdoğan underscored that Turkish troops were making extraordinary efforts to restore order in Afghanistan and to soundly operate the Kabul Airport.

Voicing his wish for a smooth transition in Afghanistan, President Erdoğan said that if the necessary precautions were not taken, the migration pressure originating from Afghanistan would further rise, which would constitute a major challenge for all countries.

President Erdoğan further noted that the EU should help the Afghan people in Afghanistan and in Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries, and underscored that Türkiye which already housed 5 million refugees cannot shoulder an additional burden of migration.

Stating that they received a request for the admission of local personnel, working for the EU’s mission in Afghanistan, to Türkiye, President Erdoğan said that member states opened their doors to only a small portion of the people who had served them and were in difficult situation, that the issue could not be overcome with such symbolic steps, and that Türkiye could not be expected to assume the international responsibilities of third countries.

President Erdoğan underlined that bearing in mind that Türkiye was a candidate country, a comprehensive, sophisticated and sincere cooperation should be established.