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Erdogan Says EU Membership Is Turkey's 'Strategic Goal'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (file photo)

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on May 9 that European Union membership was Turkey's strategic goal and that he hoped the visa liberalization deal with the bloc would accelerate Turkey's accession process.

"I hope that the visa exemption... will constitute a positive step in fulfilling the promises made and speed up the accession process," Erdogan said in a statement, reaffirming EU membership as a "strategic goal" for Ankara.

His remarks came after he lashed out at the bloc on May 6 for demanding that Turkey change its terrorism laws to meet EU political requirements to ease European travel for Turks.

The EU has asked member states to grant visa-free travel to Turks in return for Ankara stopping migrants from reaching Europe, but said Turkey still has to change some legislation.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP