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Turkey’s Shocking Ultimatum to EU! Is Erdogan Really Ready to Break Ties?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed his concerns about the European Union’s distancing from Turkey and hinted at the possibility of Turkey parting ways with the EU. Erdogan’s remarks came in response to a recent report adopted by the EU, which stated that Turkey’s membership process with the 27-member bloc could not continue under the current circumstances. The report also called for the exploration of a “parallel and realistic framework” for the EU’s relations with Turkey.

Erdogan voiced his apprehensions, stating, “The EU is attempting to create a rift with Turkey. We will assess these developments, and if necessary, we are prepared to sever ties with the EU.” Turkey’s Foreign Ministry had previously released a statement criticizing the European Parliament report, labeling it as filled with baseless accusations and prejudices and criticized its shallow and non-visionary approach to Turkey-EU relations.

The EU’s enlargement commissioner, Oliver Varhelyi, visited Turkey earlier in the month and emphasized that while Turkey had significant potential for EU membership, there needed to be progress in addressing human rights concerns before membership talks could resume. Varhelyi noted, “There are clear criteria outlined by the European Council that must be addressed. These criteria pertain to democracy, the rule of law, and the development of a credible roadmap for reform.”

In a notable move, Erdogan previously stated in July that he would only support Sweden’s NATO candidacy if the EU restarted membership negotiations with Turkey. This announcement was made during a NATO summit, drawing reactions from various leaders, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who deemed it unrelated to Sweden’s security guarantees within NATO. Erdogan argued that it was perplexing that leaders who had previously blocked Turkey’s EU membership were now seeking Turkey’s support for Sweden’s candidacy.

Erdogan emphasized Turkey’s longstanding desire to join the EU, stating, “Turkey has been waiting at the EU’s doorstep for 50 years. Almost all NATO members are EU members. I am addressing these countries that have kept Turkey waiting for over 50 years, and I will address them again in Vilnius,” referring to his participation in the summit in the Lithuanian capital. He urged EU countries to first clear the path for Turkey’s EU membership and then consider Sweden, as was previously done with Finland.

Turkey’s journey toward EU membership began in 1987 when it first applied to join the European Economic Community. It gained candidate status in 1999 and initiated formal membership negotiations with the EU in 2005. However, these talks stalled due to concerns raised by European countries regarding human rights violations, particularly stemming from a crackdown launched by Erdogan following a failed military coup in 2016.

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