Turkish minister says EU to focus on updating customs union

Turkey's Minister for EU Affairs Omer Celik reacts during an interview with Reuters in Ankara

ANKARA (Reuters) – The European Union intends to focus more on updating its customs union with Turkey, the Turkish Minister for European Affairs said on Thursday.

Leading European Union lawmakers called last month for a formal halt to Turkey’s long-stalled EU membership after a referendum to grant President Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers, which the opposition said was flawed.

They said Brussels could instead open talks on a looser relationship known as an “association agreement”, or strengthen the existing customs union.

Speaking to broadcaster NTV following a meeting with the Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland in Strasboug, Turkish EU Minister Omer Celik said Turkey wanted the customs union to be updated as soon as possible.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Dominic Evans)