Prime Minister: Turkey wants to continue EU membership talks

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Turkey's prime minister says his country wants to continue membership talks with the European Union, in an effort to ease months of tension.

In a news conference with his Bulgarian counterpart Tuesday, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said, "As Turkey, we want to continue the full membership negotiations with the EU. We have that will."

Turkey and the EU signed a readmission deal in 2016 to curb the flow of migrants into Europe, in exchange for visa-free travel and funds to help with more than 3 million refugees.

"The agreement has been signed but unfortunately it hasn't been possible to fully put it into practice," Yildirim said, adding that visa-free travel and readmission would "in principle" go into effect simultaneously.

Turkish officials threatened to scrap the deal this year when several European countries refused to allow pro-government rallies.