Turkey gets ‘tired’ of EU membership process: Erdogan

By Hajer M'tiri

Turkey is "tired" of its EU membership process and it cannot request for membership in the bloc indefinitely, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in Paris on Friday.

Speaking at a joint news conference with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Paris, Erdogan said: “We cannot continuously ask the EU, ‘please take us, too’ now,”

Turkey applied for membership in the European Economic Community, a precursor to the EU, in 1987.

It became eligible for EU membership in 1997 and accession talks began in 2005.

The Turkish president said that despite the fact that the Turkey-EU process began decades ago, the country was not granted membership.

“When we ask for the reason, the EU cannot tell us. And, at first they were preventing us via 15 [EU policy] chapters; later the number of the chapters regarding us was increased to 35.”

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.

For his part, President Emmanuel Macron called for cooperation and open dialogue to discuss Turkey's EU membership.

In his remarks at the joint news conference, Macron said “two-facedness” in Turkey-EU ties should come to an end.

“As France, we believe that future of Turkey and Turkish people should be in Europe,” Macron said.

Erdogan also spoke about the two countries’ strategic military partnership and mentioned NATO.

Earlier, Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defense Industries and Franco-Italian manufacturer Eurosam signed an anti-missile defense system agreement.

Defense deal signed

The Turkish president termed the signing of the defense deal as a “very important step”.

He added the agreement included Italy, another NATO member country.

“Now, it is time to rapidly set out and rapidly start producing,” he said.

Turkey’s defense industry and the Franco-Italian EUROSAM consortium will work together to determine the mutual needs and priorities as well as analyzing an air defense system using SAMP-T system as a base.

SAMP-T (Surface-to-Air Missile Platform) is a long-range, medium altitude air and ballistic missile defense system.

He said both sides should aim for a trade volume of €20 billion ($24 billion) with France.

He also welcomed Turkish Airlines’ agreement with Airbus.

Chief Executive Ilker Avci signed a non-binding agreement with Airbus on a potential order for 25 A350-900 aircraft, during the visit.

Erdogan shared his expectations regarding the steps taken by the two countries’ Eximbanks, saying it would make serious contribution to the development of economic relations.

He also spoke about activities of Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) -- the group behind the defeated coup attempt in 2016 -- in France.

“Sensitivity regarding FETO members is very important,” he said.

“If sensitivity regarding these remains missing, I believe it will cause problems, tomorrow,” Erdogan said.

Fight against PKK

He also said Turkey and its friends should jointly fight against terrorist groups, including Daesh, PYD/YPG and PKK.

Erdogan added his French counterpart had shared with him some names of suspects, which he assured he would get them checked by the Turkish Justice Ministry.

“West always tells us that ‘judiciary is independent’. Judiciary is not dependent in Turkey. Judiciary is also independent in Turkey,” he said.

French president also said Turkey and France would continue to fight against terrorism and terror groups such as the PKK and Daesh.

“We are taking all necessary actions to destroy the financial resources of the PKK in France,” Macron added.

About the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Erdogan said the U.S. approach of “I am powerful, then I am right,” is wrong.

“Being powerful is not a reason for being right. Power comes from being right; if you are right, then you are powerful; if you are not right, then you are not powerful.”

About Astana and Sochi talks that aim to bring stability to Syria, he said the U.S. was also involved in the process apart from Russia, Iran and Turkey.

Reminding the fact that Turkey shares a 911 kilometer-long (566 mile) border with Syria, Erdogan said: “Of course, northern Syria is a continuous threat for Turkey. Now, we have the control of a certain part in the north, but we will not allow a terror corridor to be established in northern Syria.”

Erdogan was accompanied by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, EU Minister Omer Celik and Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli during his one-day visit to France.

Macron urges open dialogue in Turkey’s EU bid

President Emmanuel Macron called for cooperation and open dialogue to discuss Turkey's European Union membership during his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Paris.

He said France believes that Turkey's future should be in Europe.

French president also said Turkey and France would continue to fight against terrorism and terror groups such as the PKK and Daesh.

Erdogan arrived in Paris early Friday for a day-long visit.

During his stay, the Turkish president held a private meeting with his French counterpart at the Elysee Palace.

Economic cooperation, bilateral trade, defense industry, counterterrorism and regional issues are being discussed during the two leaders' talks as well as ties between Turkey and France.



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