German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed a proposal by Bulgaria, which holds the current European Union presidency, to host a working meeting between EU and Turkey to resolve the points of contention and disputes.
Bulgaria, seeking better ties with its eastern neighbor, also aims to hold a possible summit to settle the points of dispute between Turkey and the union.
In that regard, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov told media on Saturday that he is preparing to hold a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, EU Parliament President Donald Tusk and Antonio Tajani in Varna.
“This meeting is a good chance to speak with the Turkish president on all issues,” Germany’s Merkel said in Sofia at a joint press conference along with hosting Bulgarian prime minister.
“We need orderly relations with Turkey to resolve the problems,” she said, according to Reuters.
Mr. Borissov believes that the summit could address Turkey’s festering concern over the problems regarding EU payments to Ankara as part of the migrant deal.
The Turkish government harbors strong resentment over EU’s dragging foot for delivering the financial help it pledged as part of the deal.
The EU has had icy relations with Turkey in the aftermath of the failed coup. Turkey has arrested more than 50,000 people and purged around 150,000 public workers.
The breakdown of democracy and the unrelenting crackdown on domestic political opponents pushed the strained ties to a breaking point. The accession talks grind to a halt in late 2016.
Only the need for cooperation to keep the migrant deal in place restrained the EU from entirely scuppering the frozen negotiation process.
President Erdogan’s visit to France also cast a pall on the possibility of Turkey’s membership to the EU. Hosting French President Emmanuel Macron dangled the prospect of EU partnership for Turkey instead of membership.
But it was regarded as a nonstarter by Turkey. As the proposal has become part of the mainstream diplomatic talk, Turkey’s EU Minister Omer Celik has outright dismissed such scenarios.
Turkey, he said on Friday, would not accept any form of partnership or relationship other than full membership.
He also trained his fires on EU for what he said its reticence and foot-dragging over the financial arrangements of the migrant deal. Speaking to Reuters in an interview, he lamented that the union failed to deliver its end of the financial agreement, was not honoring its pledge of assistance to Turkey in return for stemming the flow of migrants.
Still, Bulgaria’s optimism and bold initiative do not cloak the existence of confusion that dogged Brussels over what to do with Turkey and in what form.