Erdoğan calls on EU to keep promises, says Turkey’s future with Europe

(Updated with German Chancellor Merkel's remarks on EU Summit in fifth and sixth paragraphs)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday called on the EU to keep its promises to Turkey, and said the country envisions itself in Europe, seeking to build a future as part of the continent.

Erdoğan’s remarks arrived during an online speech he delivered for his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) congress in the western Kütahya province.

“We expect (the EU) to keep its promises to us, not discriminate and, at the very least, not become an instrument to the open animosity targeting our country,” state-run Anadolu news agency cited Erdoğan as saying.

“We see ourselves in Europe, not anywhere else, and we look to build our future with Europe,” he added.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel In a press conference following the meeting of EU leaders that took place via video conferencing on Thursday, announced that European leaders will discuss the future of relations between Turkey and the European Union (EU) at the next December summit.

In response to a question on recent tensions between Turkey, Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, Merkel said that the conference participants prefer to wait for further developments in the next two weeks before discussing any potential sanctions, MEMO news site reported.

The EU declared Turkey as a candidate country in 1999 and accession negotiations started in 2005, however the process has stalled, particularly after the failed coup attempt of 2016, due to what the EU calls Turkey’s drift away from European values. 

The union earlier this month condemned Turkey’s extension of its energy exploration activities in the eastern Mediterranean amid talk of forthcoming measures by the bloc against Ankara.

Erdoğan on Saturday also said Turkey was looking to enhance cooperation with its allies, specifically citing the United States.

“We want to use our close alliance relations with the United States actively to solve all regional and global issues,” he said. “We cannot overlook countries such as Russia and Iran, with whom we have deep-rooted relations.”

Erdoğan said the Turkish government was seeking to develop cooperation with almost all of the regional differences in the world.

Meanwhile, Presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın told EU officials in Brussels on Friday that EU membership is a strategic priority for Ankara and that the bloc's leaders should see Turkey-EU relations through a “strategic mindset,”Anadolu reported.

Kalın met with the chief foreign policy advisor to the EU Council  President Charles Michel, Maryem Van den Heuvel, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, among others, the agency said.

Kalın’s visit arrives ahead of a EU summit on Dec. 10-11.