Remarks by Federica Mogherini upon arrival at the meeting of EU heads of state or government with Turkey

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We have today an important point on the agenda: making sure that all that has been agreed with Turkey is implemented, related to the Joint Action Plan and the refugee crisis, and in particular the need to make it sustainable in the immediate term and in the long run – the protection of the refugees and the management of the flow, with the disruption of the network of traffickers.

This is why, let me remind you once again, the European Union is allocating 3€ billion – not to the government of Turkey, but to projects to support refugees and their lives.

Our relation with Turkey is a complex one and a complete one, as Turkey is in itself a complex country. We have several different issues on the table and we discuss with all of the country. I was glad this morning to meet Mr Selahattin Demirtaş, opposition leader, to discuss also with him the perspectives of the relationship between Turkey and the European Union.

We are working together on the Syrian War, trying to put an end to the 5 year old conflict there – this is a top priority for the European Union.

We are working together also with Turkey as a candidate country and here we have internal developments we are following very closely from the European Union’s side.

There is the need to restart the Kurdish peace process. The European Union recognises that the PKK is a terrorist organisation, but there is the need to re-engage – from the Turkish authority’s side – with the Kurdish political representatives, the ones that express their position in a peaceful way inside the institutions, to give a perspective to the Kurdish issue inside the country. We believe this is a priority. We will discuss this with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also today.

There is a need for Turkey to respond to the call from the European Union side, as a candidate country, to respect the highest standards when it comes to democracy, rule of law, fundamental freedoms, starting with the freedom of expression and the freedom of association. These are core values of the European Union, any candidate country has to stick to these principles and values and work concretely to promote them within its borders.