(Istanbul) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey could walk away from the European Union (EU), suggesting that his country plans to end its bid to join the 27-member bloc.
“The EU is making efforts to sever ties with Turkey,” he told reporters before leaving for the 78e UN General Assembly in New York.
“We will assess the situation and, if necessary, we will separate from the EU,” said the President of Turkey.
Mr Erdogan was responding to a question regarding a recent report adopted by the European Parliament, which stated that “the accession process cannot resume under the current circumstances”, and called on the EU to explore “a parallel and realistic framework”. for its relations with Turkey.
Turkey applied to join the European Union in 1999, and accession negotiations began in 2005. Accession negotiations were frozen in 2018 due to “democratic backsliding,” according to the European Parliament.
President Erdogan’s statement took place on Saturday, more than a week after the Turkish Foreign Minister affirmed his country’s determination to join the EU. The latter even urged the bloc of 27 member countries to take courageous measures to advance its candidacy.