Turkish FM sees positive steps in ties with EU

Positive steps are expected in Turkey's ties with the European Union, said the Turkish foreign minister on Tuesday.

We will see concrete steps. We are here to take concrete steps too," said Mevlut Cavusoglu in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, attending a conference on neighboring Afghanistan.

Cavusoglu told reporters that the EU's role on the ground will not be as effective without Turkey, reflecting on the Turkish-EU summit held in Varna, Bulgaria Monday, describing talks at the meeting as frank.

He also stressed that the EU will benefit more from closer ties with Turkey.

Topics discussed in Varna included Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, Syria, Jerusalem, Cyprus, and the migrant issue, said Cavusoglu.

He also underlined that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan clearly laid out Turkey's expectations from the EU.

We need to go forward on the basis of mutual respect, he said.

Cavusoglu said most EU member states want Turkey to join the union and see its potential role in the bloc.

Monday's summit might be a turning point, he added.

Turkish-Uzbek ties

At the conference, Cavusoglu also met with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and discussed Turkish-Uzbek relations.

He said that this year Turkish-Uzbek ties have been very good.

Indicating that there is a 20-year gap between the countries, he said that both countries are trying to bridge that gap and stressed that bilateral trade has been growing by 30 percent annually.

Conference on Afghanistan

Turning to Afghanistan, Cavusoglu also said the Afghan president's call for an unconditional meeting with the Taliban gave the conference greater importance.

Here we discussed how to support Afghanistan, he stressed.

In a February phone conversation, Mirziyoyev had requested Erdogan to send a delegation to the Tashkent conference.

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Source: Anadolu Agency