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Erdoğan accuses EP of attacking Turkey with arguments of terrorist groups

Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, on November 22, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FREDERICK FLORIN

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday slammed the European Parliament (EP), saying it is attacking Turkey with “terrorists arguments,” referring to a recent report recommending suspension of Ankara’s longstanding European Union accession bid, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.

“The European Parliament is attacking Turkey with the arguments of the separatist terror organization [Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)] and [the Gülen movement]. Once they have the chance, believe me, they won’t hesitate to hand this country over to terrorist groups,” Erdoğan said during a campaign rally ahead of approaching local elections.

The PKK launched an insurgency against the Turkish army in the Southeast four decades ago and is designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, United States and the European Union.

Turkey accuses the Gülen movement of orchestrating a 2016 failed coup, although it strongly denies any involvement.

He said the parliament’s recommendation to suspend has no value and that Turkey is ready if the EU makes such a decision.

“We are waiting for this decision of yours. Take it, we are ready, but they can’t do it,” the president said.

A total of 370 members of the EP voted in favor of the report urging suspension of Turkey’s EU negotiations, while 109 voted against.

The non-binding advisory report drew reactions from Turkey.

Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987, and accession talks began in 2005. But negotiations stalled in 2007 due to the objections of the Greek Cypriot administration on the divided island of Cyprus as well as opposition from Germany and France.

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