Posted by Turkse Media
Jul 12, 2017
Erdogan: Turkey has other plans if EU membership fails
EU is not indispensable for Turkey, president says in interview with BBC
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Turkey has other plans up its sleeve if the EU membership talks fail.
In an interview with the BBC’s HARDtalk program published on Wednesday, Erdogan said it would even be a relief in case the bloc made it clear that it would not happen.
“We are loyal to our word. If the EU bluntly says ‘We will not be able to accept Turkey into the EU’ this will be comforting for us. We will then initiate our plan B, and C,” he said.
Erdogan underlined that the EU was not “indispensable” for Turkey, which he said “is able to stand on its own two feet” with a per capita income of more than $11,000.
Asked whether he personally believed that Turkey would be better out of the EU, Erdogan said Turkish people’s opinion of the bloc had changed over time.
“The majority of the Turkish people don’t want the EU anymore. They don’t think the EU’s approach to Turkey is sincere,” he said.
The president accused the EU of wasting Turkey’s time.
“Once upon a time when I was in my first term as prime minister, Turkey was being described as a country which has accomplished a silent revolution during European Union leaders’ summits. But now the same EU not only doesn’t invite us to the leaders’ summits any more – they also waste our time. This is the situation right now,” he said.
Nonetheless, Turkey will continue its efforts for the EU membership “for a little more time,” he added. “We will see what that brings for us.”
Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987 and accession talks began in 2005.
Negotiations hit a stalemate in 2007 because of Turkey’s position on the Cyprus issue. The German and French governments also opposed the country’s full EU membership.
To gain membership, Turkey has to successfully conclude negotiations with the EU in 35 policy chapters that involve reforms and the adoption of European standards.
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