Er­do­gan says Turkey in ‘endgame’ over EU mem­ber­ship

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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. –

Photo: AFP

Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan ad­dresses the Turk­ish Na­tional As­sem­bly in Ankara on Oc­to­ber 1.

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