President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday called on the European Union to be sincere about Turkey’s EU accession process, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.
“It needs to be clear whether or not the EU will accept Turkey,” Erdoğan said during a joint press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban in Budapest.
“Turkey has been stalled since 1963. No EU member state was treated in such a way,” he added.
In 1963 the Ankara Agreement between Turkey and the European Economic Community — a predecessor to the EU — established an association between Turkey and the bloc.
Turkey applied for membership in the EEC in 1987, and it became eligible for EU membership in 1997. Accession talks began in 2005.
But talks stalled in 2007 due to objections from the Greek Cypriot administration on the divided island of Cyprus as well as opposition from Germany and France.
For his part, Orban said that Hungary’s security is “directly related to Turkey.”
“A stable government leading Turkey is also a guarantor of Hungary’s security,” he said.
Stating that Turkey, like Hungary, lies along migration routes, Orban said it is important for Hungary that Turkey is stable to establish peace in the region and deter irregular migration.
Stressing the importance of the 2016 EU-Turkey migrant deal for the security of the European continent, Orban said Hungary must also show its alliance with Turkey.
“We have to congratulate Turkey for opening its doors to millions of refugees,” said Orban.
In March 2016, the EU and Turkey reached an agreement to stop irregular migration through the Aegean Sea and improve the conditions of more than 3 million Syrians in Turkey.
Earlier this month, Erdoğan suggested that he could take Turkey to a referendum over its EU bid.
“If the European Union continues wasting Turkey’s time in its accession to the union, then the country could hold a referendum over its membership bid. It is better to see this process sooner so that Turkey can determine its way.” Erdoğan had said on Oct. 4 at a forum in Istanbul.