Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says European Parliament vote on accession ‘has no value’

November 23, 2016 10:30 pm

Turkish President had harsh words for a venerable European Union (EU) institution on Wednesday. Above, he is seen addressing police officers and cadets during a conference in Ankara, , November 22, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says an upcoming vote by the European Parliament to halt talks on Turkey’s accession to the European Union (EU) is of “no value.”
“They will vote on EU talks with Turkey. Let me say this upfront. I am calling on the world from here. Whatever the result, this vote has no value in our eyes,” Erdogan said on Wednesday.
The Turkish president, who was addressing an Organization of Islamic Cooperation conference in Ankara, emphasized that the result of the European Parliament’s vote on whether to freeze membership talks with Turkey was non-binding.
Erdogan has previously signaled that Ankara may decide to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which includes Russia and China, as an alternative to the EU.
Erdogan’s contemptuous remarks about the European Parliament — which is the legislative arm of the EU — came after its leading members on Tuesday called for a halt to EU membership talks with Turkey over Ankara’s harsh crackdown in the wake of a failed coup in July.
“Our message to Turkey is very clear: accession negotiations should be frozen immediately,” said Manfred Weber, the head of the center-right European People’s Party, which is the European Parliament’s largest faction, on Tuesday.
More than 125,000 people have been detained or dismissed over their alleged backing for the putsch. Much to the anger of Ankara, Western countries see the crackdown as an attempt to crush all dissent.
Those purged include soldiers, academics, judges, journalists and political leaders with links to opposition figures or groups.
Turkey has been attempting to become a member of the EU since the 1960s. Formal EU accession negotiations began in 2005. But the process has been mired in problems, and only 16 chapters of the 35-chapter accession procedure have been opened for Ankara so far.
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