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EU not formally informed on relaunch of exploratory talks, spokesman says

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European Commission foreign affairs spokesman Peter Stano has highlighted the importance of a resumption of exploratory talks between Athens and Ankara.

Responding to questions at the Commission’s midday briefing earlier Monday, Stano said the EU has received no formal notification of the resumption of the talks, but that it is a development that it is expecting, because “irritants” in the relations between any member-state and Turkey are “irritants for the whole of the EU.”

The de-escalation of tensions and the normalization in relations between Greece and Turkey, Stano added, are a “very important part” of the evolution of the EU-Turkey relationship.

The foreign affairs spokesman of the Commission also confirmed that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will visit Brussels on January 21 for a meeting with the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

The EU seeks a “constructive approach” to Turkey, according to Stano, and the teleconference on Saturday between Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, Borrell and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was part of the effort to convey a message of de-escalation that will lead to more constructive cooperation.

Chief spokesman Eric Mamer added that the Commission in no way shares the view expressed by Erdogan that EU-Turkish relations are being undermined by “the whims of certain member-states.”

The position of the Commission on the matter, he said, is fully expressed by the conclusions of December’s EU Council.