Turkey promises no military operation in Iraq without Baghdad's approval

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But they could not hide the fact that they still disagree about Turkey's accession to European Union and its fight against terrorism inside and outside its borders.

Referring to the EU's stance that Turkey needs to take significant steps to drop the state of emergency and uphold democracy and human rights, Tusk said that as an European Union candidate country, "Turkey has committed to developing and upholding the highest standards of democracy".

"Erdogan must be well aware that any attempt to violate Iraqi sovereignty will not be permitted, and we will defend our country as we defended and freed it from the terrorist gangs of [IS], especially since Erdogan and IS are two sides of the same coin", al-Baeji added.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that operations had begun in Iraq's Sinjar region, an area where Turkey has threatened cross-border military action, two days after sources said Kurdish PKK militants would withdraw from the area.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov hosted the summit as chairman of the EU Council.

"We encourage Turkey to work with the Council of Europe, of which Turkey has been a member longer than most EU Member States".

The EU also expressed its objections to Turkey's military ongoing operations in Syria's Afrin region and a standoff over Mediterranean gas with EU members Greece and Cyprus.

Yildirim recalled that Turkey has fulfilled its obligations to the EU.

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However he added: "We don't want rambling or unfair criticisms on sensitive issues like the fight against terror".

"I hope that we have left a tough period in the relations between Turkey and Europe behind us", Erdogan said and voiced hope that "a first step was taken here toward restoring trust with Europe". He hoped that progress would be made in Turkey's accession process, and that the visa liberalization agreement would soon be finalized.

But, she added, "it would be delusional to believe that the European Union would grant Turkey concessions on this matter".

Erdogan also in typically brazen fashion put Iraq's government on notice, saying "We have told the central [Iraqi] government that the PKK is establishing a new headquarters in Sinjar".

Brussels has repeatedly criticised the post-coup crackdown, which has seen almost 160,000 people detained, including dozens of journalists.

During a visit by Erdogan to Paris earlier this year, French President Emmanuel Macron said Ankara should settle instead for a looser "partnership" and suggested no more progress was possible in accession talks. Turkey, for its part, accused Brussels of failing to show solidarity after the coup and appears set on forging a strong partnership with President Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation.

All three European leaders praised the positive role that Turkey has played in the refugee crisis, taking over in several million Syrians and housing them in camps, thus alleviating the flow towards the EU.

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