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Iran Press TV

Erdogan urges EU to be sincere about Turkish membership

Iran Press TV

Tue Oct 9, 2018 01:42PM

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on the European Union (EU) to demonstrate sincerity about his country's accession to the 28-member politico-economic bloc.

"It needs to be clear whether or not the EU will accept Turkey," Erdogan said during a joint press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban in Budapest.

"Turkey has been stalled since 1963. No EU member state has been treated in such a way," he added.

Earlier this month, Erdogan suggested that he could take Turkey to a referendum over its EU membership bid.

"If the European Union continues wasting Turkey's time in its accession to the union, then the country could hold a referendum over its membership bid. It is better to see this process faster so that Turkey can determine its way," the Turkish president said at an international forum in Istanbul on October 4.

On June 27, Ankara slammed the European Union as "hypocritical" and "prejudiced" after the bloc said Ankara was moving further away from Europe.

The reaction came a day after ministers of European affairs said during a meeting in Luxembourg that Turkey's long-stalled accession negotiations -- which began officially in 2005 -- had "effectively come to a standstill," and Turkey was "moving further away from the European Union."

"Once again it is shown how the EU does not treat Turkey fairly or sincerely," the Turkish foreign ministry responded in a statement, describing the ministers' conclusions as "hypocritical and incoherent."

It added that the ministers' statement also reflected the "prejudiced and unjust attitude" against Turkey.

Turkish EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik said on Twitter the conclusions showed that the EU was "confused," with statements that "lacked vision" and were "full of contradictions."

Relations between Turkey and the EU have been strained for several years, but especially after the July 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan, which the Ankara government accuses to have been masterminded by US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The EU has often criticized the crackdown and attacks on freedom of speech in the wake of the botched putsch, in which tens of thousands of people, including journalists, have been arrested.

Ankara, in return, has accused Brussels of being unsupportive of the multiple terror threats it faces.

Turkey has also rejected any offer of partnership with the EU that falls short of full membership, warning that the current situation gave Turkey no reason to maintain its refugee deal with the bloc.

The EU and Turkey struck a deal worth billions of euros in March 2016, under which Turkey would take back migrants in exchange for visa liberalization. It has yet to take effect for Turkish nationals.

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