Turkey says Britain should stay in EU

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said Turkey wants Britain to stay in the EU "under any circumstances."

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu answers a question during an interview in Ankara.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday that Turkey strongly backs Britain staying in the European Union.  

During a press conference with his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Tahsin Turkoglu, Cavusoglu said, "We want Britain to stay in the European Union under any circumstances."

"Britain’s exit would certainly have a negative impact," he added.  

Cavusoglu’s statement came as British fears over future Turkish membership in the union have featured strongly the lead up to the referendum.

According to supporters of "Brexit" – Britain leaving the EU – millions of Turks could move to the UK in the future if Britain choses to stay in the union.

David Cameron: Turkey joining EU is not 'remotely on the cards'

British Prime Minister David Cameron had said in May that  "It is not remotely on the cards that Turkey is going to join the EU at any time soon."  

"They applied in 1987. At the current rate of progress, they’d probably get round to joining in about the year 3000," Cameron added.

Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said in his comments yesterday that "It is not right that the issue of when Turkey will become a member of the EU is used in the Brexit campaign. Turkey has never been a burden on the EU."

Cavusoglu added that he wants Britain to stay in the EU for the bloc to be stronger.

A Turkish EU referendum?

Yesterday evening Turkish President Erdogan suggested Turkey might also hold a Brexit-style referendum on whether to continue its efforts to join the union, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Europe doesn't want his country to join the EU because the majority of the nation's population is Muslim.

"We can stand up and ask the people just like the British are doing," said the Turkish president.  

"We would ask, 'should we continue the negotiations with the European Union or should we end them?' If the people say 'continue,' then we would carry on," he added.

Erdogan also suggested that the union is not willing to accept the accession of Turkey due to it being a "Muslim-majority country."

Turkey has been an associate member of the EU since signing the Ankara agreement in 1963.

The country formally applied membership in 1987 and began accession negotiations in 2005, but the process has been stalled due to the negative stance of some EU members.

TRTWorld and agencies