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Turkey intends to expedite negotiations on its accession to the European Union as a full member, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced to reporters of the presidential corps upon his return from Vilnius, where he took part in the NATO summit.

'There is a positive atmosphere in the European Union regarding the revival of our European integration process.

We will speed up negotiations on renewing relations as part of the customs union, which will have a positive effect on the Turkish economy.

I hope to bridge the distance on the visa-free regime issue,' he said.

Erdogan noted that he sent his official representative, chief adviser Arif Cagatay Kilic to Brussels to hold talks on European integration.

'We have sent our adviser, Mr Cagatay, to Brussels, where the related talks will take place tomorrow.

They will discuss both a customs union and a visa-free regime.

I hope the talks will benefit Turkey.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also told us a number of positive things in this regard,' Erdogan said.

He called the decision made at the summit in Vilnius to prepare a report on relations between Ankara and the EU the right step, something the European Commission should go forward with.

'I expect it to be positive and forward-looking,' the Turkish leader said.

In Vilnius, on July 10, Turkey and Sweden concluded a protocol at a meeting between Erdogan and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, according to which Stockholm will counteract organizations declared terrorist in Turkey and facilitate the process of joining the EU as a full member.

This document of seven provisions was prepared as a follow-up to the Madrid Memorandum signed in June 2022 on the sidelines of the NATO summit.

The initiative to hold the meeting in Vilnius belongs to Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of the alliance, who announced that an agreement had been reached between Ankara and Stockholm.

The Turkish authorities previously stated that the main condition for approval of the NATO application submitted by Sweden in May 2022, should be the fulfillment of the obligations of the Madrid Memorandum on Combating Terrorism.

However, before flying to the NATO summit, Erdogan said that Turkey would support Sweden's application to join the alliance in exchange for lifting barriers to Ankara's EU membership.

Turkey has been officially seeking EU accession as a full member since 2005.

To date, 16 out of 35 positions of the so-called negotiation dossier have been opened.

The main stumbling block in the negotiations is the Cyprus problem.

Original Article Source: Al Manar | Published on Thursday, 13 July 2023 15:03 (about 226 days ago)