Turkish PM Yıldırım to Juncker: EU needs Turkey more than Turkey needs EU

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ANKARA, TURKEY - JULY 18 : Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim delivers a speech during the AK Party's group meeting at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) in Ankara, Turkey on July 18, 2017. AFP

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Tuesday that the EU needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the EU while responding to remarks made by EU Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker regarding Turkey’s bid to become an EU member.

Speaking during his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, Yıldırım lambasted Juncker’s remarks in Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper where he said reinstatement of the death penalty would “slam the door to EU membership” for Turkey.

“No one can make threatening statements on Turkey’s sovereign rights. Those threatening to close the EU door to Turkey should know that the EU needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the EU,” Yıldırım said.

“Those who are responsible should refrain from these kinds of statements that can harm channels of dialogue,” he added.

On July 16 Juncker urged Turkey to uphold democratic values if it hopes to join the EU, in remarks to Bild am Sonntag.

His remarks came a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had vowed to sign any bill lawmakers pass on reintroducing the death penalty during a speech to Parliament on the anniversary of an attempted coup on July 15, 2016.

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