Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdoğan said on March 26 it would be a “grave mistake” for Europe to not include Turkey in the expansion of EU. According to Erdogan, Turkey’s operations against terrorism not only contribute to the security of Turkey and the Syrians but also to the security of Europe. Erdogan added that Turkey and EU have taken the first step of restoring confidence, but it has to be taken in concrete terms. Regarding visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area, Erdoğan said Ankara had submitted the necessary paperwork and that was hoping the process to update the customs union with the EU would begin. Erdoğan also addressed the issue of Cyprus, saying that the involvement of Turkey is in accordance with international law.
About the negotiations on immigration, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker vowed to be a “guarantor” of the continuation of Turkey-EU negotiations, saying that it showed “visible results.” For his part, European Council President Donald Tusk stressed the good cooperation between Turkey and the EU in certain areas, although it “is going through difficult times.” Tusk thanked Turkey for its stance on migration and support for refugees. Tusk pointed to Turkey’s good bilateral relations with EU member states, adding that the EU “stands united behind the Republic of Cyprus regarding its right to explore and exploit its natural resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone.”