The European Parliament’s upcoming voting on freezing membership talks with Ankara has no value for the country, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Nov. 23.
“I’m saying this in advance; this vote has no value for us, whatever the result is,” Erdoğan said at the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC) in Istanbul.
The president added that the parliament’s vote was an indicator that the union protected and sided with terrorist organizations.
The European Parliament’s main groups said on Nov. 22 that they would vote this week to freeze membership talks with Turkey over its actions following a coup attempt against Erdoğan.
The vote threatens to deepen the rift between Ankara and the European Union, although it will not be binding and European Union states are for the most part against halting the drawn-out accession process.
“No business as usual with Turkey; we support a freeze of EU accession negotiations,” said Manfred Weber, head of the center-right European People’s Party, the largest group in the parliament.
Gianni Pittella, leader of the Socialist Group, the second biggest in the assembly, added: “Turkey’s EU accession talks must be temporarily frozen. There are not the conditions to proceed now.”
Speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Pittella said it would send a “political message to Erdoğan” to stop the “mass detention, accusation of political leaders and MPs, repression of judges and journalists.”
Liberal leader Guy Verhofstadt, the former prime minister of Belgium, said his group too was “asking to suspend the negotiations with Turkey.”
But EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini warned that halting Turkey’s accession process would be a “lose-lose” move.
Turkey formally applied to become an EU member in 1987 and accession talks only began in 2005, even though Ankara’s aspirations to become part of the bloc dates back to the 1960s.
Turkey and the EU agreed to speed up membership talks in March as part of an accord on curbing migrant flows into Greece in exchange for Turkey acquiring cash for migrants and visa-free access for its citizens.
But the process has neared collapse due to controversy over Turkey’s anti-terror code.
Erdoğan warned the EU last week to make a decision by the end of this year on Turkey’s membership, saying he would otherwise call a referendum on the matter./IBNA
Source: Hurriyet Daily News
Photo: The Guardian