Turkey slams European Parliament for ‘insignificant’ vote on accession talks

November 25, 2016 8:27 am

Turkish Prime Minister and leader of ’s ruling Justice and Development Party, Binali Yildirim, delivers a speech at the party’s headquarters in Ankara, , on November 16, 2016. (Photos by AFP)

Turkish officials have strongly condemned a recent decision by the European Parliament to shelve accession negotiations with the Ankara government over the large-scale crackdown in the aftermath of the failed mid-July coup.
“The decision means nothing to us. Our relationship with the is not tight anyway. We have a pushy relationship with the …  It is a great discrepancy that Europe says Turkey is irreplaceable on security issues on one hand, while taking these kinds of decisions with flimsy reasons. We expect the leaders of the countries to raise their voices against this lack of vision,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said at a press conference in the capital Ankara on Thursday.
He warned that Europe could be inundated with refugees and asylum seekers in case Turkey does not offer assistance under an agreement signed in March.
“We are one of the factors protecting Europe. If refugees go through, they will flood into Europe and take it over, and Turkey prevents this,” Yildirim said.
“I accept that cutting off ties with Europe would harm Turkey, but it would damage Europe 5-to-6 times more,” the Turkish prime minister pointed out.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (pictured above) has downplayed the European Parliament motion as invalid, stating that it has disgraced the EU parliamentary institution.
“Essentially, the decision humiliates the European Parliament and the European Union. The European Parliament brought its credibility to ground with this decision,” he said.
Cavusoglu went on to say that the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union due to the politico-economic bloc’s lack of vision and esteem.
“The EU should… learn lessons from its mistakes as soon as possible. If they want to bring Turkey to its knees with this kind of decisions, this is useless,” he commented.
Additionally, Turkey’s Minister of EU Affairs Omer Celik described the motion as “null and void.”
“We would respect the motion if it was constructive despite being critical. However, the motion is politically inconsistent. They adopted it for political purposes. Those who want to give us a message should know that the parliament’s message would not get through the crossing point between Turkey and the West,” Celik said.

Turkey’s EU Minister Omer Celik delivers a speech during a press conference on an EU report on Turkish candidacy for the bloc in Ankara on November 9, 2016. 

The Turkish minister also called on “prudent” figures in the West to save the EU from the “vicious cycle it has been in.”
Earlier on Thursday, the European Parliament adopted a non-binding motion by 479 votes to 37, with 107 abstentions, calling for “a temporary freeze of the ongoing accession negotiations with Turkey.”
Turkey has been trying to join the EU since the 1960s, but the formal negotiations started in 2005. However, the process has been mired in problems, and only 16 chapters of the 35-chapter accession procedure have been opened for Ankara so far.
Relations between Ankara and the EU have further soured following the July 15 botched putsch, which Ankara claims to have been organized by US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Over 240 people were killed and more than 2,100 others injured in the violence, which Gulen has strongly condemned and denied any involvement in. Tens of thousands of people, including military personnel, judges and teachers, have been suspended, dismissed or detained as part of the post-coup crackdown.
International rights groups argue that Ankara’s crackdown has gone far beyond the so-called Gulenists and targeted Kurds as well as government critics.
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