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EU's Juncker, Tusk to meet Turkey's Erdogan Thursday in Brussels

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EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker (L) welcomes European Council President Donald Tusk (R) prior to a debate on the conclusions of the last European Council, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, on May 17, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PATRICK HERTZOG

EU leaders Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Brussels next Thursday, the European Commission said, following months of strained relations.

Juncker, who heads the European Commission, and Tusk, who heads the council of 28 EU member states, are due to meet Erdogan on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels.

“President Jean-Claude Juncker, together with (EU Council) President Donald Tusk, meets Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey, in Brussels,” Juncker’s office said Friday in a calendar entry for May 25.

Relations between the bloc and Ankara took a hit after a failed coup attempt in July, and worsened further during the campaign for the April 16 referendum on strengthening Erdogan’s powers.

Earlier this month, Erdogan told Brussels it had no other “option” than to open new “chapters”, or policy areas, in Turkey’s long-stalled accession talks which began in 2005.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu insisted at the time that Turkey was not seeking to become an adversary to the EU, but complained about the approach.

He said only 16 policy chapters had been opened out of a total of 35 since the negotiations began, even though Ankara’s bid to be a part of the bloc dates back to the 1960s.

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