Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey and European Union ‘obliged’ to take joint action in face of increasingly threatening regional developments, reminding that the safety of European borders is tied to the security of Turkey’s eastern borders rather than Europe’s border to Turkey.
The president spoke at the event organized by the Economic Development Foundation (IKV) under the title of “Relations of Turkey and European Union on 50th anniversary.”
Erdogan noted Turkey’s EU membership must be treated differently in light of ongoing regional and international developments saying that, “Looking at the incidents occurring from Syria to Ukraine, Middle East to North Africa, Turkey and EU are obliged to act together against the growing threats.”
“The regional conflicts requires EU to move relations with Turkey forward contrary to excluding Turkey from [the] EU. The entire EU system must comprehend very well that the security of EU begins at eastern borders of Turkey,” he said.
Reminding listeners that 14 chapters have been opened with EU since the negotiations re-started in 2005 and that 25th chapter on Science and Research was suspended temporarily, Erdogan stated that, “The chapters that were supposed to be opened are facing political obstacles but we are determined to continue with negotiations.”
“Turkey and EU share common goals in broad issues concerning foreign policy, economy, commerce relations, security, safety of borders, employment and migration policies,” he said, adding that Turkey is not only just a political ally but a key for economic stability in Europe.
Regarding some of the critical chapters that need to be opened for progress in EU membership, Erdogan went on criticizing the stalling of the process for 23rd and 24th chapters by saying that, “Most of the criticism directed at Turkey falls under these chapters but EU refuses to launch these chapters, blocking integration of Turkey.”
President Erdogan further emphasized the goals set for the “New Turkey” to be implemented following the June 7 general elections, expressing that those goals are not independent from Turkey’s EU membership.