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EU's Tusk seeks 'strong signal' from Turkey

04 november 2015, 13:00

EU president Donald Tusk urged Turkey on Tuesday to show its readiness to work with Brussels on issues such as the migrant crisis following a stunning election win by the party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, AFP reports.

Congratulating Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on his re-election, Tusk also urged Turkey to restart its peace process with the Kurds and warned of increasing security challenges and restrictions on the media.

The EU last month announced a refugee cooperation deal with Turkey including a possible three billion euros ($3.3 billion) in aid, but Erdogan and other officials have since dampened expectations, in a further sign of the troubled relationship between Ankara and Brussels.

"I hope to receive a strong and visible signal from your side that Turkey is ready to engage with the EU on these issues in a constructive and forward-looking spirit," former Polish premier Tusk said in his letter to Davutoglu.

The European Council president said he wanted to "advance our cooperation" and push forward on Turkey's long-stalled accession process for EUmembership, which was part of the Turkish-EU deal.

Tusk's statement was far warmer than the EU's initial reaction to the weekend vote result, in which Brussels did not offer any congratulations, and said that it was still awaiting a report by international election monitors.

Europe has become increasingly concerned with the authoritarian direction taken by Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP), along with deteriorating security linked to the war in Turkey's neighbour Syria.

Tusk admitted that there had been a "difficult security environment" and an "increasingly restrictive media situation", but added that "I welcome the fact that voters were given a real choice of competitive and credible political alternatives."

He also urged Turkey to resume the Kurdish peace process "as soon as possible".

But even as he spoke Turkey's government appeared to be moving in the opposite direction, with security forces killing three Kurdish militants, while two opposition journalists were reportedly charged with a coup plot.

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