Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday targeted European Union leaders, accusing them of not being honest about Turkey’s accession to the bloc and urging them to make a statement to end the process.
Speaking during a meeting in Ankara on Friday with the mayors of various cities, Erdoğan said: “If you’re honest, make your statement and we will finish the job. We don’t need you.”
Amid a number of disagreements with several European governments, Erdoğan claimed that Turkey doesn’t need the EU and added: “What happened after the EU failed to give visa-free travel [to Turkish citizens]? Are we in a miserable situation? They are still delaying it. You are running away from the mat.”
During a speech in Oct. 1, Erdoğan said, “We are very disturbed by those who openly hinder Turkey’s EU accession and at the same time take a tolerant stance towards terrorist organizations.”
He added, “Today, Europe is a place where terrorists freely operate and plot all sorts of operations against Turkey’s legitimate government.”
Turkey has been harshly criticized for gross human rights violations in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, when the Turkish government launched a massive purge of its opponents under the cover of punishing coup plotters and supporters.
Ankara’s relations with Berlin have been strained by Turkey’s crackdown on government critics after the failed coup last year, including German journalists and human rights activists.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a televised debate in September that Turkey should not become a member of the European Union — Turkey’s largest trading partner with which it has a customs union.
Erdoğan had a spat with leaders of Germany, Austria and the Netherlands earlier in 2017 over these countries’ refusal to allow Turkish government officials to hold rallies there ahead of a public referendum in Turkey in April.
Erdoğan increased his presidential powers after the April 16 referendum, claiming that it was necessary to protect Turkey’s security from its domestic and foreign enemies.