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Iraq vows to secure Sinjar boarder region, after Turkish warning

28 March 2018

He said its fight against terrorism is a buffer for the EU.

"The EU has lent substantial support to improve the livelihood of these refugees, and this evening we reaffirmed the European Union's unwavering commitment to continue this support", Tusk said.

The EU, deeply concerned at Turkey's approach to human rights since it brought in a state of emergency now in effect for more than 20 months since the attempted coup in July 2016, did not obtain any pledge from Turkey to free journalists it has jailed or improve other rights for its citizens, nor did it make significant headway over concerns about the Turkish military invention in Syria-but the meeting allowed for the first major talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in nearly year, thus the commitment to continue talking can be taken as something of a breakthrough.

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

"Regardless of the course of the Cyprus issue, the equal involvement of Turkish Cypriots in decision-making on natural resources around the island is in accordance with global law", he said.

At a summit described as "charged with great tension" by host nation Bulgaria, the bloc vowed to keep funds flowing for a refugee deal with Ankara, but disappointed Turkey with their demands for deeper trade ties or visa-free travel to Europe.

"We hope that we have left a hard period in Turkey-EU relations behind", Turkish president said.

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So far this incentive has not been realised and Erdogan stressed the issue during the talks.

In response to European criticism of its cross-border operation to drive out Syrian Kurdish militia from the northwestern Syrian border enclave of Afrin, Erdogan said Turkey expected European backing.

Brussels has repeatedly criticised the post-coup crackdown, which has seen almost 160,000 people detained, including dozens of journalists.

Turkey, for its part, has accused Brussels of failing to show solidarity after the coup and appears set on forging a strong partnership with President Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation.

"Turkey respects fundamental human rights and is a country that respects human rights", he said, noting that Turkey still wants to become a member of the European Union.

The issue of Turkey's membership negotiations began in 2005, then stalled for five years and have now effectively collapsed.

But Turkey said the pair have since testified that they tracked footsteps in the snow into Turkish territory and meant to send photos taken on their mobile phones to their superiors.

Iraq vows to secure Sinjar boarder region, after Turkish warning