Turkey 'determined' to join EU despite European 'double standards', Erdogan says

Turkey 'determined' to join EU despite European 'double standards', Erdogan says
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said delays in the country's EU accession process had been caused by 'double standards', but Turkey was nonetheless 'determined' to become a full member.
2 min read
10 May, 2019

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday said the country was working "persistently" to join the European Union despite facing "double standards".

After being recognised as a candidate for full membership two decades ago, Turkey began negotiations to enter the EU in 2005.

But the process has been slow and marked by countless setbacks.

In recent years, the EU and member nations have stepped up criticism of alleged human rights violations and "democratic backsliding" in Turkey, stalling negotiations.

Turkey has blamed the accession process' stagnation on "double standards".

"Turkey proceeds on its way persistently despite those trying to exclude it from the European family," Erdogan said, according to the state Anadolu news agency.

"Despite all the double standards we have been facing in our accession negotiations, Turkey is determined to become a full member of the European Union as a strategic objective."

Turkey has been struggling to become a member of the EU for six decades, he said.

But despite that struggle, the EU is more in need of Turkey than Turkey is of it, the president claimed.

Turkey continues to protect its eastern borders with Syria and Iraq and its western borders with Greece and Bulgaria, not only for national security, but also for "Europe's security", he said.

Turkey in 2016 signed a 6 billion euro ($7 billion) deal to stem the flow of refugees and migrants to Europe.

The deal was also supposed to accelerate Turkey's EU membership bid and give Turkish citizens access to visa-free travel throughout the EU, but this has yet to be agreed upon as Turkey failed to meet all of the EU's visa liberalisation benchmarks.

Turkey has complained that the EU has been too slow to deliver the agreed-upon funds - bookmarked for improving the condition of millions of Syrian refugees in the country - and has failed to uphold its end of the deal concerning visa liberalisation.

"EU membership is meaningful in the equation in which both sides gain. Nobody can force Turkey to accept an equation that is harmful," Erdogan said.