2, October 2017
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Ankara no longer needs to join the European Union, but will not unilaterally quit the stalled talks on accession to the 28-nation bloc.
“We will not be the side, which gives up. To tell the truth, we don’t need EU membership anymore,” President Erdogan told the Turkish parliament on Sunday.
He, however, suggested that the bloc still needed Turkey, saying, “If the EU is going to leap forward, there is only one way to do so and it is to grant Turkey membership and start an action of cultural and economic growth.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Turkish president said the EU states had failed to respond to requests to extradite individuals suspected of involvement in the coup attempt in Turkey in 2016, adding, “The EU failed us in a fight against terrorism.”
The 12-year-long accession talks were effectively halted after Turkey began a massive crackdown on the coup suspects. The EU reacted strongly to Ankara’s purging of thousands of people from organizations and institutions over alleged links to the coup attempt.
In recent months, Germany and some other European countries have been involved in diplomatic brawls with Turkey on several issues, including the country’s human rights record.
Germany and Austria have also been outspoken critics of Ankara since the Turkish crackdown began and have said the accession talks must end.
On September 3, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a TV debate ahead of Germany’s federal elections, agreed with her main rival Social Democrat Martin Schulz that it was “clear that Turkey should not become a member of the European Union,” marking a surprise U-turn from her previous moderate stance.
In November 2016, the European Parliament voted in favor of halting the membership talks with Turkey over Ankara’s heavy-handed crackdown.
EU leaders are expected to discuss the issue of suspension of the accession talks in Brussels later in October.
Turkey has been trying to accede to the EU since the late 1980s and formal accession talks began in 2005. The EU has opened 16 out of the 35 chapters required for Turkey to join the bloc, but only one of them has so far been concluded.
Culled from Presstv