Minister Bağış accuses EPP of ‘detaining’ ruling AKP
EU Minister Egemen Bağış (R) welcomes Swedish Ambassador to Turkey, Lars Wahlund in Ankara. Bağış defended AKP’s decision on ECR. REUTERS photoTurkish EU Minister Egemen Bağış has put the blame on the European People’s Party (EPP), a center-right grouping in the European Parliament, for the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) recent decision to leave the group and join the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), a conservative and Eurosceptic grouping in the European Parliament.
“Discussing this decision at the European Parliament is the most democratic and natural right for them. But if they are looking for somebody who is responsible for this, then they should question executives and members of the EPP. The EPP kept the AKP in ‘observer status’ for 10 years, in a way it did not deserve, and it didn’t keep its promise for associate membership, which is mentioned in its written statement,” Bağış told reporters yesterday, describing the ruling party’s decision as “a political choice.”
When reminded that the EPP was the largest group in the European Parliament, he denied that the AKP’s choice would have an impact on Turkey’s full membership bid process. “We haven’t joined a group of the African Union, the Eurasian Union, or the Arab League, after leaving a group of the EU,” Bağış stated.