Turkey hopes to turn new page with U.S. and EU in 2021, Erdogan says
Ankara (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkey hopes to “turn a new page” in its ties with the United States and European Union, and that Ankara had been subjected to double standards by both its NATO ally Washington and the bloc.
This month Washington sanctioned Turkey over its acquisition of Russian S-400 missile defences, and the EU also prepared punitive measures over Turkey’s dispute with members Greece and Cyprus over Mediterranean offshore rights. The bloc decided to postpone the measures until March.
Speaking to lawmakers from his ruling AK Party, Erdogan said “artificial agendas” tested Turkey’s ties with the EU and United States in 2020, but he hoped things would improve.
“Turkey is facing double standards both over the eastern Mediterranean and the S-400s. We want to turn a new page with the EU and United States in the new year,” Erdogan said.
“We don’t see our multilateral political, economic and military cooperation as an alternative to our deep-rooted ties with the United States. And we wish for the EU to rid itself of the strategic blindness that is distancing Turkey from it,” he added.
The U.S. sanctions come at a delicate moment in the fraught relations between Ankara and Washington as Democratic President-elect Joe Biden gears up to take office on Jan. 20, replacing Republican Donald Trump.
Ankara has condemned the sanctions as “grave mistake” and said it expects Biden to be more constructive in solving issues between the allies, ranging from differences over Syria policy to the S-400s.
On Wednesday, Erdogan said Turkey would not “bow down to the language of sanctions and blackmail”, but added that he believed Biden will show the “necessary importance” to Turkish-U.S. ties.