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Iran Press TV

EU must give clear answer to Turkey regarding accession bid: Turkish president

Iran Press TV

Tue Oct 17, 2017 04:21PM

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the European Union (EU) must give a clear answer to Ankara regarding Turkey's bid to join the continental bloc, complaining that the EU has so far failed to fully fulfill its financial commitment to the Anatolian country according to the 2015 Turkey-EU refugee deal.

The Turkish president made the comment in a joint press conference with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda in Poland's capital, Warsaw, on Tuesday during a one-day visit to the European country.

"I would like to hear a clear declaration. If you want to accept Turkey, just do it. If you don't want to, just tell that," Erdogan said.

Turkey has been attempting to become part of the EU for decades, but official accession negotiations began in 2005. The 12-year-long accession talks were effectively halted after Turkey began a massive crackdown on suspects allegedly involved in last year's mid-July failed coup against Erdogan. The EU reacted strongly to Ankara's purging of thousands of people from organizations and institutions over alleged links to the botched putsch.

Furthermore, the EU heavyweight member Germany and some other European countries have been involved in diplomatic brawls with Turkey on several issues, including the country's human rights record, in recent months.

The continental bloc says only 16 of the 35 chapters in the accession procedure have been opened for Ankara so far.

"I always say this: 'Let us know if you are not going to accept us. You should not take up our time nor do we take up your time. Let's finalize this," Erdogan said, adding "They cannot make their decision on this and we are saying 'We will not be the one to leave the table.' We are waiting for their decision."

Duda, for his part, said his respective country had supported Ankara's bid for the EU membership all the way long, stressing the significance of Turkey for Europe.

"Poland has supported and supports today Turkey's efforts to join the European Union. Turkey is an especially important EU partner in the area of security," the Polish president said, expressing hope that Ankara and the bloc would continue on the "same path" leading to a "full membership" for Turkey.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Erdogan also touched upon the issue of 2015 Turkey-EU refugee deal, according to which Ankara should curb the illegal flow of refugees to Europe in return for receiving financial aid, the acceleration of visa liberalization talks and progress in its EU membership negotiations.

He criticized the EU for just sending "€885 million of its promised €3 billion plus" to Ankara according to the deal, which came into effect in March last year.

Turkey has been home to some 3 million Syrian refugees since 2011, when a foreign-backed militancy erupted in the Arab country. Erdogan said his country had so far spent "over $30 billion" on helping and sheltering the desperate people.

The Turkish president's trip to Poland came two days ahead of an EU leaders' meeting in Brussels, which is due to focus on migration, defense digitalization and foreign affairs, including the bloc's ties with Turkey.

Erdogan's visit to Poland was primarily made to boost trade relations between Ankara and Warsaw. According to Turkey's Economy Ministry, during the past 10 years, trade between the two sides has more than doubled, growing from $2.49 billion in 2006 to nearly $6 billion last year.

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