Turkey is a European country, it is impossible to oust it from there, Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said on Thursday.
“Let the EU try to isolate us clashing with its own values,” the president said addressing representatives of regional authorities in Ankara. “Turkey is a European country. The EU and the racist-minded circles will not be able to oust us.”
Erdogan recalled that about 5 million ethnic Turks live in Europe.
“If the EU abandons this pointless enmity, we will be ready for full-fledged membership. If steps are taken to abolish visas, assist refugees, we will likewise show our good intentions,” he said. The president added that “Turkey is running out of patience and incentives” while seeking EU membership.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said earlier in the day that Turkey will not interrupt cooperation with Europe, but the EU needs to build more rational relationship with Ankara. “We have concluded an agreement on exchanging refugees, agreed to abolish visas, signed the readmission agreement but did not ratify it in parliament. We have reached an agreement to earmark 6 billion euros for refugees. We have kept our promises, while Europe has not,” he said.
According to Yildirim, “the situation in Europe would have been appalling now if Turkey had not addressed the issue of refugees in the region over the past five or six years.”.