Erdogan says Turkey in ‘endgame’ over EU membership
PRESIDENT Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Turkey had reached the “end of the game” over its decadeslong EU membership bid, saying it was time for Brussels once and for all to make clear if it wanted Ankara as a member.
In a hard-hitting speech marking the opening session of parliament, Mr Erdogan also told Brussels it needed to allow Turks visa-free travel to the bloc by this month, as per a previous agreement to decrease migrant flows.
Relations between the European Union and Turkey have strained in the wake of the July 15 failed coup, with EU officials among the most vocal critics of the relentless crackdown against the alleged plotters and supporters
“If the EU is going to make Turkey a full member, we are ready. But they should know that we have come to the end of the game,” Mr Erdogan said in a televised speech in Ankara.
“There is no need to beat around the bush or engage in diplomatic acrobatics. We need a decision.
“It’s their [the EU’s] choice to continue the path with or without Turkey. They should not hold us responsible,” he added.
Mr Erdogan said October would be an important month in Turkey’s relations with the European Union and that “it is necessary” that visa-free travel for Turks to the Schengen Area comes into force this month.
Under a March deal, Turks were to gain visa-free travel in exchange for Ankara helping reduce the flow of migrants to Europe. However, the visa plan as stumbled over Turkey’s antiterror laws. –
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the Turkish National Assembly in Ankara on October 1.