Iraq will prevent attacks on Turkey, Abadi tells Yildirim

Erdogan says Ankara has been following the developments on the field regarding the Iraqi operation in Sinjar

Erdogan says Ankara has been following the developments on the field regarding the Iraqi operation in Sinjar

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday insisted Turkey still wanted to become a member of the European Union ahead of a potentially stormy summit with EU chiefs seeking to fix an increasingly fractured relationship.

"Our operations against terrorism do not just contribute to our and the Syrians' security, but to Europe's security as well", Erdogan said.

EU and Turkey leaders met in the Bulgarian Black Sea resort with participation of Bulgarian Prime Minister and chairman of the EU, Boyko Borissov, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"We encourage Turkey to work with the Council of Europe, of which Turkey has been a member longer than most EU Member States".

This has all whipped up an increasingly acrimonious war of words and made Turkey's prospects of joining the European Union - an objective that Erdogan insisted earlier on Monday that Turkey still pursues - appear even more remote.

Greece is satisfied with the EU's position on issues important for Athens that were put to the meeting in Varna.

Tusk also made a point of saying that "while our relationship is going through hard times, in areas where we do cooperate, we cooperate well", and Brussels is not about to underestimate Turkey's potential importance in helping to stem the turmoil spreading across the Middle East and in addressing geopolitical difficulties posed in relations with Russian Federation and Iran.

Brussels has repeatedly criticised the post coup crackdown which has seen almost 160,000 people arrested, including dozens of journalists.

"Only progress on these issues will allow us to improve the EU-Turkey relations, including the accession process", he added.

On the European side, all three leaders tried to maintain a positive tone towards Ankara, although there was overt criticism, especially from Juncker, on the topic of human rights and upholding democratic norms in Turkey after the crackdown which has continued since the failed coup in 2016.

"The EU uses double standards in relation to Turkey, but this does not mean that all EU countries do not want to see Turkey within the Union", Cavusoglu said.

Juncker also praised the success of Turkey-EU refugee agreement as it showed "visible results".

The issue of Turkey's membership negotiations began in 2005, then stalled for five years and have now effectively collapsed.

Al-Abadi's statement says he reassured his Turkish counterpart, Binali Yildirim, in a telephone conversation that he rejects any "violation" against Turkey through Iraqi territory.

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