During Thursday’s talks with accredited ambassadors of the European Union countries in Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emphasized that despite the injustices that his country suffers from the EU, joining the EU remains a priority for his Turkish government.
“Turkey, thanks to its geography and history as part of Europe, remains determined to become a member of the European Union,” Erdogan said, while accusing the EU of “numerous injustices” which, in his opinion, Turkey is suffering from the Community.
Erdogan pointed to the need for the EU to get rid of “strategic blindness”, which makes it impossible to deepen relations with Turkey.
“What we need to point out is that the EU has become hostage to several Member States,” he said without mentioning specific countries. He added that they are trying to solve their problems with Turkey by using the European Union.
The EU’s relations with Turkey are affected by unresolved disputes over access to natural resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey’s role in Syria, the migration crisis, the conflict with Greece over Cyprus and the stagnation in accession talks.
Commenting on his country’s role in the migration crisis, Erdogan remarked that “Europe, without Turkey’s help, would face a much more difficult situation today”. “We expect a fair distribution of responsibilities and the burden of this crisis,” he said.
In 2016, the EU signed an agreement with Turkey to stop the flow of refugees and immigrants to the Community in exchange for financial aid for Syrians residing in Turkey.
Erdogan also accused the EU of acting as “spokesman for the Greek Cypriots” and ignoring the Turks living there. In 1974, Turkey, fearing the island’s accession to Greece, launched an invasion that led to the proclamation of independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in 1983, officially recognized only by Turkey. (PAP)
jbw / mal /