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Türkiye to Expediate Talks With EU on Customs, Visas: Erdogan

Türkiye is set to expediate talks with the European Union on customs union and visa liberalization, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday, adding there has been positive feedback from the bloc over Türkiye’s accession process.

He made the remarks while speaking to reporters on his flight from Vilnius, Lithuania following the NATO summit on July 11-12, where he dropped months of objection and backed Sweden’s bid to join the military alliance, state-run TRT broadcaster reported.

“There is a positive opinion about the revitalization of our European Union membership process. We will accelerate the negotiations for the modernization of the customs union which will have a multiplying effect on the Turkish economy. I also believe that we will observe progress on visa liberalization,” he was quoted by TRT as saying.

Erdogan said on the sideline of the summit, he held talks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and other European leaders on the revival of Türkiye’s EU membership talks.

“Ursula von der Leyen also talked positively on these issues,” Erdogan said.

The EU Council’s instruction to the EU Commission and High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell to prepare a report on ties with Türkiye was another “positive move,” he said.

Ankara wants to upgrade the 1996-dated customs union with the block, but some EU members drag feet due to political reasons. Türkiye also wants to start visa-free travel in the EU for Turkish citizens.

Before attending the summit, Erdogan told the media that Türkiye will give consent for Sweden’s NATO bid only if Ankara’s accession process with the EU is resumed.

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