Turkey summit ends with 'no solutions'

High-level EU and Turkish officials to convene signalling potential amends

SOFIA, Bulgaria - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday voiced hope that a hard period in relations between Turkey and the European Union is now in the past.

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

During the summit, he met with President of the European Council Donald Tusk, head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov.

"The border is now controlled by our forces, and we reject any attacks by Turkey through our territory", the Iraqi Premier said.

MEPs commented to TV broadcasters that Varna has opened a new path in relations with Turkey.

Tusk said improved relations would depend on progress on issues including the rule of law and press freedom as well as Syria.

The Turkish leader also extended his honest condolences of the Kemerovo tragedy and offered the words of sympathy to the families of those killed in the disastrous shopping mall fire.

However he added: "We don't want rambling or unfair criticisms on sensitive issues like the fight against terror". Topics including the crackdown in Turkey after the July 2016 failed coup, Turkish demands for visa liberalisation and the near-endless saga of Ankara's own European Union membership bid are expected to loom high.

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Formal talks for membership started in 2005 but have been frozen since the widespread crackdown on dissent and opposition following the failed military coup in 2016.

Cavusoglu noted that, unfortunately, a number of European Union countries have several problems in relations with Turkey.

"The two presidents discussed preparations for a regular meeting of the top-level Cooperation Council between Russia and Turkey and the second summit of the Astana process guarantor nations - Russia, Turkey and Iran - due to be held in early April in Ankara", the Kremlin said.

Juncker said the summit was one of "mixed feelings but not mixed messages", adding: "It was a good meeting because as this is the normal principle between big democracies, we were able to talk in all frankness and openness".

Turkish General Staff said in a statement that the terrorists were plotting an attack on Turkish forces.

All three European leaders praised the positive role that Turkey has played in the refugee crisis, taking over in several million Syrians and housing them in camps, thus alleviating the flow towards the EU.

The EU also expressed its objections to Turkey's military ongoing operations in Syria's Afrin region and a standoff over Mediterranean gas with EU members Greece and Cyprus.

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