French President Macron: EU membership out of question for Erdoğan’s Turkey

Membership in the European Union is unthinkable for Turkey under current conditions, and Europe must focus on establishing a strong strategic partnership with Turkey instead, French President Emmanuel Macron said at a meeting with French diplomats.

“President Erdoğan’s Turkey is not the Turkey of Atatürk’s period,” the Cumhuriyet daily quoted Macron as saying, comparing the rule of current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to that of the secular founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Erdoğan, who rose from a background of political Islam to become mayor of Istanbul in 1994, went on to dominate Turkish politics in his 15 years leading the country, starting in 2003.

Erdoğan’s authoritarian policies and frequently combative foreign policy and rhetoric have raised concerns among neighbors in the European Union, which has stalled Turkey’s accession negotiations process.

“We can’t plan for Europe’s long-term future without thinking of Russia and Turkey,” said Macron. “While the Turks keep asserting a pan-Islamist and apparently anti-European agenda day after day, how can we think clearly and honestly of continuing talks for Turkey’s EU membership?” he said.

“So we need to establish a strategic partnership, not EU membership,” Macron continued, stressing the importance of such partnerships to tie both Russia and Turkey to Europe. (SCF with Ahval)

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