ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected proposals of a partnership with the EU, insisting full membership to the bloc is the only option, in an interview published Sunday.
Hosting Erdogan on a visit to Paris in January, French President Emmanuel Macron said it was “hypocrisy” to say progress could be made on Turkish EU membership, floating the idea of a partnership instead.
The EU must “keep its promises” to Turkey, Erdogan told Italy’s newspaper, ahead of his arrival in Rome on Sunday evening for a 24-hour visit.
“The EU is blocking access to negotiations and suggests that lack of progress is because of us. It’s unfair. Just like it is that other countries are pushing for options other than membership,” he said.
“We want full membership. Other options are not satisfactory,” he added.
He stressed the country’s “important” role stemming the flow of migrants to Europe, which he said offered “security and stability” to the continent.
Turkish ambitions to join the EU date back over half a century but accession talks started in October 2005.
Out of the total of 35 chapters needed to be closed to join the EU, 16 have been opened with just one closed. No new chapter has been opened since financial and budgetary provisions was opened in June 2016.