First Published: 2018-01-19

Turkey's EU minister rejects any option other than full membership
Celik: A privileged partnership or similar approaches, we don't take any of these seriously.
Middle East Online

By Tulay Karadeniz and Orhan Coskun - ANKARA

Only full membership accepted

Turkey would reject any offer of partnership with the European Union that falls short of membership, Ankara's minister for EU affairs said, warning that the current situation gave Turkey no reason to maintain its migrant deal with the bloc.

"A privileged partnership or similar approaches, we don't take any of these seriously. Turkey cannot be offered such a thing," Omer Celik told Reuters in an interview.

"Whatever it would be called, a privileged partnership or cooperation against terrorism, such an offer will not even be considered by Turkey," he added.

France's President Emmanuel Macron said two weeks ago that developments in Turkey did not allow for progress in its decades-long push to join the European Union. He said discussions should change focus, mentioning the possibility of a partnership that would fall short of full membership.

The EU has expressed concern over Turkey's crackdown on suspected supporters of a failed 2016 coup. Around 50,000 people have been arrested pending trial and 150,000, including teachers, journalists and judges, sacked or suspended from work.

Celik said the European Union was not honouring all parts of a deal to stem the flow of migrants westwards from Turkey in return for 3 billion euros in financial aid to Turkey and other support.

The financial aid was "not working well", no new chapters had been opened in Turkey's EU accession efforts and there had been no development on expanding a Turkish-EU customs deal.

"Technically there's no reason for Turkey to maintain this deal," Celik said.

 

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