The European Union needs Turkey more than Ankara needs the bloc, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday, denouncing a new European Parliament report that was sharply critical of the rule of law in his country.

His comments come amid controversy in Europe over a deal between Brussels and Turkey to stop the flow of migrants from war-torn Syria and other troubled countries to EU territory.

“The European Union needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the European Union,” Erdogan said to cheers in a televised speech to municipal leaders in Ankara, denouncing as “provocative” last week’s European Parliament report which accused Ankara of backsliding on democracy.

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He lashed out at the report for not praising Turkey’s hosting of some 2.7 million refugees from the war in neighboring Syria.

“Three million people have been looked after in this country so they don’t disturb the Europeans. Is there anything about this in the report?” said Erdogan.

“At a time when our relations with the European Union are in a positive phase regarding the migrants… it is provocative to come out with a report like that,” he added.

Turkey has been given a string of promises from the European Union in return for stepping up work to stop migrants crossing to EU territory and also taking them back.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned Monday that Ankara would not abide by its side of the deal unless the EU fulfils a promise to grant Turks visa-free travel by June.

“This is a mutual commitment. If the EU cannot take the necessary steps required of it then of course it cannot be expected of Turkey to take these steps,” Davutoglu told reporters at Ankara airport before heading to Strasbourg to address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

ALSO READ  Iran and Turkey vow to boost bilateral trade and deepen cooperation

 

AFP

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12 COMMENTS

  1. The fact is that Erdogan needs more Turkey than Turkey needs Erdogan and if ever Turkey enter the E.U., Turkey won’t be Erdogan’s dictature anymore. Maybe if Turkey, Arabia an Qatar didn’t interfeered in syrian internal affairs and, by letting the oil and jihadis cross his southern border, thus founding the mess they did there, there wouldn’t have been 3 millions refugees fleeing the country and a 5 years ware claiming 270,000 lives. From the cultural and historical POV, most of Europeans consider that Turkey is not in Europe but in Asia although there’s a little part which was stolen from Greece by Ottoman Empire which includes Constantinople. If you consider it from the cultural and societal point, most of E.U. citizens would feel they have much more in common let’s say with Russia than with Turkey.
    Another point : I don’t think that E.U. countries want to have to deal with a head of state enough stupid to shoot down a Russian plane. At the NATO level, some are even considering that Erdogan is trying to push NATO into a war against Russia which would simply mean mutual assured destruction, Turkey being destroyed as you sacrifice a pawn when you play chess…

  2. 1st they are not locked in, otherwise they would not show up in Germany; 2nd there are many indications that Turkey is exaggerating the numbers of refugees it hosts. 3rd Go pound sand Erdogan.