Speaking during a presser with Spanish PM Sanchez, Turkey's President Erdogan also said Ankara hopes to increase defence cooperation with NATO ally Spain.

Turkey and Spain have traditionally enjoyed good relations.
Turkey and Spain have traditionally enjoyed good relations. (Emin Sansar / AA)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged countries of the European Union to take “concrete steps” to develop ties with Turkey, a candidate for EU membership.

“We, as Turkey have displayed our principled attitude and efforts in favour of dialogue and diplomacy with the aim of implementing a positive agenda,” Erdogan told a joint press conference on Wednesday with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who is in Turkey for an official visit.

“Henceforth, the European Union should approach its relations with our country from a strategic perspective, and take concrete steps,” he added.

“The petty calculations of a few member states should not be allowed to weaken EU and NATO-EU relations,” Erdogan stressed.

He did not name any member states in particular, but in recent years Turkey has accused both Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration of blocking Turkey’s EU bid for political reasons, and of weakening NATO by forming “alliances within the alliance.”

Turkey has been an EU candidate country since 1999, and its accession talks began in 2005, but in recent years its candidacy has been essentially frozen.

READ MORE: Erdogan to EU: Turkey's ultimate goal is 'full membership' of bloc

Defence cooperation

Erdogan said that Ankara hopes to increase defence cooperation with NATO ally Spain through the purchase of a second aircraft carrier and possibly a submarine.

Erdogan said Turkey and Spain had already cooperated on the construction of a Spanish assault ship.

“There is so much we can do in the defence industry, including (concerning) armed and unarmed unmanned aerial vehicles,” the Turkish president told reporters.

Erdogan and Sanchez earlier oversaw the signing of six agreements, covering cooperation in renewable energy, disaster response and sports.

Early on Wednesday, Erdogan welcomed Sanchez with an official ceremony at the presidential complex. Later, Erdogan and Sanchez attended the 7th Turkey-Spain Intergovernmental Summit.

The first meeting of the Turkey-Spain Intergovernmental Summit was held in Istanbul in 2009, and the last summit between the two countries was held in Madrid in 2018.

The countries have traditionally enjoyed good relations, and have worked together as co-chairs of the UN Alliance of Civilizations initiative.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies