ANKARA, Turkey – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says membership in the European Union remains a "strategic goal" for his country.
Erdogan was speaking Monday before departing for the Bulgarian Black Sea resort of Varna to attend a likely arduous Turkey-EU summit meeting.
Erdogan told reporters he would urge the EU to remove "political and artificial" hurdles against Turkey's membership and revive stalled accession negotiations.
The summit comes amid an array of issues that have strained ties, including a dispute between Turkey and EU-member Cyprus over energy exploration in the Mediterranean.
The EU largely depends on Turkey to curtail the flow of migrants into Europe but has deep concerns over the state of democracy, human rights and freedoms in Turkey that have taken a turn for the worse after a 2016 failed military coup.