Erdogan: Turkey does not need EU membership
7 October, 2017
In his first speech to parliament after the summer break, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan targeted the European Union. It had failed to help Turkey in the fight against terrorism, he said. Erdogan had some strong words for the Turkey's 12-year accession talks, which have ground to a halt.
"To tell the truth, we don't need EU membership anymore," Erdogan said.
Relations between the EU and Turkey have deteriorated in the year since the failed coup of July 2016 and the subsequent government crackdown on opponents and the media. Over the year since the coup attempt, some 50,000 people, including teachers and journalists, have been remanded in custody, and 170,000 suspects investigated for alleged links to US-based cleric Fetullah Gulen. Erdogan's government accuses Gulen of having masterminded the coup.
"We are extremely uncomfortable with those who openly hinder Turkey's EU membership but adopt a tolerant attitude towards terrorist organizations," he said, referring to supporters of Fetullah Gulen and to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).