Erdoğan tells EU: ‘We’re at the end of the game’
AA PhotoThe European Union must decide whether it wants to continue on its path with or without Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, describing the ongoing impasse between Ankara and Brussels as “the end of the game.”
“If the EU wants to admit Turkey as a full member based on an objective assessment, there is no obstacle to that. We are ready. But if they have no intention of admitting us and think they can continue stalling the process through unreasonable demands, they are wrong. They should know that this game is over,” Erdoğan said in his address to parliament to mark the start of the legislative year on Oct. 1.
“It’s European Union’s choice whether to continue on its path with or without Turkey. They will make that choice themselves. They should not try to throw this responsibility on our shoulders through their cunning tactics,” he added.
Turkey and the EU have long been negotiating over granting a visa exemption to Turkish citizens in return for implementing the Readmission Agreement as part of a broader agreement between the two on stopping the mass flow of refugees through the Aegean Sea. The two sides earlier agreed to put the visa waiver deal into effect in June, which was later postponed to October.
“October is important in terms of our relations with the EU. As you all know, the visa-free regime that the European Union promised to Turkey is supposed to enter into force this month,” Erdoğan said, claiming that Brussels was attempting to make Turkey compromise “in the fight against terrorism.”
“Let me be clear on this: This attitude is an explicit manifestation of the fact that the European Union does not want to keep its promise to Turkey. Let me be clearer still: Let them decide!” he added.
‘Waiting at the door for 53 years’
The president claimed that many EU member countries “cannot compare with Turkey in terms of democratic or economic criteria” but have been swiftly admitted as full members, while the EU kept Turkey waiting at its doors for 53 years.
“There is no point in beating about the bush or trying to prove one’s case by engaging in diplomatic rhetoric. We expect openness, transparency and a sincere recognition of facts from the European Union and the active states within it. We want the Europeans to refrain from using us as a scapegoat for the different intentions that they harbor,” Erdoğan said.
“We have no problem - and will never have any problem - with the European Union criteria of global democratic values, human rights, and the rule of law. We embrace these and will continue to do so, not because this is what the European Union demands but because this is what our citizens deserve,” he added.