EU’s double standards towards Turkey reduce faith in membership: PM Erdoğan
WARSAW - Anadolu Agency
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during a conference in Warsaw, Nov. 8. AA photoPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized the European Union’s attitude toward Turkey, arguing that “double standards” have considerably weakened the population’s faith in the country’s prospective membership as well as public support.
“In 2004, when the first step on the accession negotiations was made, support in Turkey for the EU membership process was around 70-75 percent. Today, this number fell to 30-35 percent,” Erdoğan said during a conference on EU-Turkey relations in Poland’s capital Warsaw.
“You ask the public ‘Do you want to enter the EU?’ to which they answer that they do. Then you ask ‘Would they accept [Turkey’s membership]?’ 70 to 75 percent say ‘they won’t.’ Why? Because they have lost faith,” he said.
Erdoğan also expressed his confidence that Turkey was ready and able to adopt all the legislation required for membership, but said EU members lacked sincerity. “They can’t tell us ‘you have shortcomings regarding this issue’ because they know at the moment that they will say it, Turkey will do it. Turkey has a political will and will enter the EU,” Erdoğan said, adding that those who were “sincere” put forward Turkey’s size as the main obstacle to its membership.
“[Turkey] is not coming to be a burden but to take the burden. Turkey does not need it, while currently there are countries inside the EU who are a burden for the EU,” he said.
EU Minister rushes ‘hither and thither from one country to another’
Erdoğan also praised EU Minister Egemen Bağış for “rushing hither and thither from one country to another” in a bid to overcome EU countries’ skepticism about Turkey’s membership. “Why did we found the EU Ministry? To follow [the accession process] closely and to work more intensely. Our minister rushes hither and thither from one country to another. Turkey’s accession will enrich the EU and strengthen its global positioning, while bringing diversity and dynamism,” Erdoğan said reiterating Ankara’s determination regarding the membership.
“We are carrying out the process despite all the obstacles and negativity that is put in front of us. We are carrying out our reforms not only for the harmonization with the EU, but for our people and our future. The [reforms] on democratization and human rights are the result of the expectations of our citizens,” Erdoğan said.
“I believe that EU leaders who own vision will see the contribution that Turkey’s accession can bring to the EU. A Union without Turkey will remain as a project which has not matured.”
The Turkish delegation left Warsaw for Istanbul on the evening of Nov. 8. Erdoğan announced before leaving that he might visit Polonezköy on Nov. 9, a small village on the outskirts of Istanbul’s Asian side founded by Poles in the middle of the 19th century.