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EU will ask Turkey to join, says ex-official

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News | 11/28/2011 12:00:00 AM | İpek Yezdani - [email protected]

Turkey has to forget about the EU and continue doing things that are right for Turkey, said Richard Balfe, who was a member of the Turkey-EU joint parliamentary commission.

Turkey has to forget about the EU and continue doing things that are right for Turkey, said Richard Balfe, who was a member of the Turkey-EU joint parliamentary commission for more than 20 years and member of the European Parliament for more than 25 years.

“Turkey should make clear its interest to the EU and should look for a partnership, not for a supplicant,” Balfe said in a Hürriyet Daily News interview. “[Turkey should] not always be saying ‘please be kind to us.’ Because actually the EU has too many problems and it will not be too many years before the EU is asking Turkey to join it.”

Balfe came to Istanbul to attend a roundtable discussion organized by the Economic Development Foundation (İKV). On the sidelines of the discussion, he said he would not be surprised if in 10 years the EU did not ask Turkey to join.

“After all, Turkey has a much younger population profile than most of Europe. And it is a dynamic country. I often am asking in Britain, ‘Who else is going to pay for my pension if we do not let the Turks in?’” Balfe said.

Balfe also said he believed there was a level of hypocrisy in the EU’s policies toward Turkey.

The EU had taken in many countries much weaker than Turkey, both economically and in terms of human and social rights, he said, and Bulgaria and Romania were way behind Turkey.

“If you look at Latvia, you have got a country with a large minority population of Russians who are denied all civil and political rights. So, suddenly the EU realized it has some countries in it that are fundamentally a long way behind Turkey,” he said. “Even the EU has to stop occasionally and think how far hypocrisy can go.”

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