Turkish President Tells EU It Is Make-Or-Break Time
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says the EU needs to decide the future of Ankara-Brussels relations.
The president suggested the EU should halt full EU membership talks if they aren’t serious and don’t want Turkey in the political and economic union. He said Turkey’s patience is running out for the EU’s unrealized promises.
“Turkey has fulfilled all the criteria during the AK Party (Justice and Development Party) governments. Despite this, the only reason why we could not be a full members is the EU’s inconsistent policies. As a country that has met all the liability and kept all its promises, we are expecting the same from the EU,” Erdoğan said at his party’s assessment camp over the weekend.
Turkey’s relations with the EU date back to 1963. The country was named one of the candidates in 1999, and negotiations for full membership started in 2005. EU has suspended talks with Turkey due to the EU’s unhappiness with what the union has described as a decline of democratic norms in this country.
“A step that needs to be taken for either strengthening or cutting Turkey-EU ties […] must be done by the Europeans. Don’t you like, don’t you want Turkey? Then, say: ‘We are parting ways,’ and get it done. You already have no use for us,” Erdoğan said.
The president slammed the EU for making lame excuses to hinder Turkey’s EU process and said their pretexts have been unfounded and baseless, a fact known by both the EU and the European Parliament.
“They opt for accusing Turkey in order to conceal their unprincipled stance,” the president stated. Specifically, he accused the EU of not keeping promises to provide financial assistance to the Syrian refugees hosted by Turkey.
Turkey has wasted a lot of energy on membership talks, but the EU is still delaying the process, Erdoğan said.
“They did the same on visa liberalization and customs union, and they are still delaying. We will patiently wait for the realization of promises, but it won’t be forever.”
Erdoğan slams Macron
Touching upon the Armenian issue in his speech, particularly France’s decision to commemorate on April 24 Armenians who were killed during World War I, Erdoğan lashed out at French President Emmanuel Macron.
“Sending a message to 700,000 Armenians in France, Mr. Macron, will not save you. First, you should learn to be honest in politics. It’s not possible for you to win in politics unless you turn to be an honest politician,” Erdoğan said.
Macron is new to politics and does not know “these businesses,” the president said. He said he has discussed the issue with the French president a number of times.
No ‘Genocide’ no Great Disaster
Describing the Armenian issue as a tool employed by others to pressurize Turkey in the international arena, Erdoğan said, unlike many other states, Turkey doesn’t have a shameful past.
“During the Balkan wars and in their aftermath, we unfortunately lost 2 million brothers and sisters of ours, including women, children and the elderly. And as many civilian citizens of ours were massacred during the Russian and Armenian invasion in eastern and southeastern Anatolia,” he said.
He doubled down on Turkey’s stance that the Armenian relocation was neither a genocide nor a great disaster; it was a tragic event that took place under troublesome conditions a century ago.
Significant difference with US on S-400s
President Erdoğan also touched on the ongoing dispute between Turkey and the United States on the former’s plans to procure Russian S-400 air defense systems.
“We, on the S-400 issue as well, have significant divergences of opinion with the U.S., which pursues policies in Syria that don’t befit our relationship of alliance by any means,” he said. He reiterated Turkey’s determination to undertake security reinforcements such as the S-400s.
“The legitimacy of the measures Turkey takes and the operations it conducts against the terror threats originating from Iraq and Syria is indisputable. However, we monitor, with sorrow, the U.S. insistently attempting to collaborate with the separatist terrorist organization and objecting to our designs which are aimed at consolidating and diversifying our security,” Erdoğan said.
He referred to the U.S. alliance with the YPG against ISIL in Syria. Ankara considers YPG as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK and a terrorist group.