Turkey sees itself in Europe and seeks to build its future with it, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, in stark contrast with his long-running rebuffs against the European Union.
“We see ourselves nowhere else but in Europe. We contemplate to build our future together with Europe,” Erdoğan said on Nov. 21, adding that the country seeks stronger cooperation with its allies.
"We want to be in stronger cooperation with our friends and allies," he said.
Erdoğan urged the European Union to "keep its promises, not to discriminate, and at least not to be a tool of explicit hostility against Turkey."
The Turkish President also noted that Ankara wants to use its "long and close ally relations" with Washington actively in resolving the regional and global issues.
Erdoğan was not among the first world leaders to congratulate U.S. President-elect Joe Biden.
While the Turkish President enjoyed close ties with U.S. President Donald Trump, there have been tensions between the two countries over several issues.
Turkey’s purchase of a high-tech Russian S-400 missile defense system angered Washington, while Ankara has protested against the U.S. refusal to extradite Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who is widely believed to have orchestrated the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt.
Erdoğan noted that Turkey can't ignore countries, such as Russia and Iran, with which it has deep-rooted ties.
According to Erdoğan, Ankara doesn't see its increasingly close cooperation with Russia as an alternative to its ties with the U.S.
“We seek to improve our cooperation with almost all regional pacts in the world,” he said, adding that Turkey works for solutions based on territorial integrity and political unity everywhere it is involved, from Syria to Libya.
“We believe that we do not have any problem with any country or institution that cannot be solved through politics, diplomacy, and dialogue,” he said.
According to Erdoğan, Turkey has always kept these communication channels open and will continue to do so.
Saying that Turkey "maintained robust relations with the West without ignoring the East," Erdoğan noted that the country "can't afford to turn its back on either the East or the West."
"While developing our relations with Europe, we never ignore Asia and Africa. It is not only wrong but also impossible to confine Turkey, which is geographically an African-Eurasian country within a narrow framework concerning diplomacy,” he said.
AKP postpones party congresses
Separately, Erdoğan said that his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is postponing its congresses as of next week "to support the fight against the pandemic.”
He said the new dates will be determined according to the course of the situation.
A new round of measures against the novel coronavirus took effect in Turkey on Nov. 20, including a partial weekend curfew.