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Merkel wants constructive EU relationship with Turkey

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to the media as she arrives for the second face-to-face European Union summit since the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Brussels, Belgium October 1, 2020. Francisco Seco/Pool via REUTERS

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants the European Union to have constructive ties with Turkey, she said ahead of a Brussels summit at which Turkey’s controversial energy exploration activities in the eastern Mediterranean will be a major topic.

Cyprus has said it will block common EU sanctions against Belarus, another priority for most of the bloc’s 27 members, unless member states agree to adopt a harder line against Turkey’s activities in what it says are its waters.

“We are committed to finding a peaceful solution to the tensions,” Merkel said. “I will point out that our relationship with Turkey is naturally very complex and, even with all the difficulties, there is a strong interest for the European Union to develop a truly constructive relationship with Turkey.”

Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Paul Carrel