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EU membership remains strategic goal for Turkey – Erdogan

The Turkish president said on Monday that membership of the European Union remains a “strategic goal” for his country, despite the uneasy relationship with the 28-member bloc. Recep Tayyip Erdogan was speaking in Istanbul before departing for the Bulgarian Black Sea resort of Varna to attend a summit meeting with EU leaders, AP reported. Erdogan wants to urge the EU to remove “political and artificial” hurdles against Turkey’s membership and revive the stalled accession negotiations during talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk. An array of issues has strained relations between Ankara and the EU, including a dispute between Turkey and EU-member Cyprus over energy exploration in the Mediterranean.