Turkey’s Erdoğan: We don’t need European Union

Turkey's autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said on Friday that Turkey “does not need the European Union,” amid a number of disagreements between the two sides as well as diplomatic tension between Ankara and the US.

“If you’re honest, make your statement and we will finish the job. We don’t need you,” Erdoğan said during a speech he gave for provincial chairmen of his Justice and Development Party (AKP). “What happened after the EU failed to give visa-free travel [to Turkish citizens]? Are we in a miserable situation? They are still delaying it. You are running away from the mat,” added Erdoğan.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday that the EU leaders will have an open debate next week on future relations with Turkey, but would not take any formal decision. In her weekly video podcast, Merkel said they have asked the European Commission to present a report on Turkey, amid recent tensions between Ankara and European capitals. “We will certainly not take any decision, but I would like to listen to the views of my colleagues on bilateral relations with Turkey,” Merkel said.

The EU’s head of states and governments are scheduled to meet in Brussels on Oct. 19-20 for a planned European Council meeting.

Merkel came under enormous pressure from her rivals ahead of the Sept. 24 elections to suspend Turkey’s EU membership talks amid recent tensions. She promised last month to discuss the future of EU-Turkey ties with other European leaders, but also underlined importance of maintaining dialogue with Ankara.

Erdoğan has also accused the US administration on Thursday during a speech in a meeting with provincial governors of “sacrificing a strategic partner to a presumptuous ambassador,” saying Turkey does not need America.

Erdoğan continued to criticize US Ambassador to Turkey John Bass for an ongoing visa crisis between the two countries resulting from the arrest of a Turkish staff member at the US Consulate General and a detention warrant issued for another last weekend.

“Let me be very clear, the person who caused this is the ambassador here. It is unacceptable that the US has sacrificed a strategic partner like Turkey to a presumptuous ambassador,” Erdoğan said. “It’s a shame if the great America is governed by an ambassador in Ankara,” he added.

“We are not a tribal state. We are the state of the Republic of Turkey and you will accept it. If you don’t, then sorry, but we don’t need you.”

Accusing the US of trying to besiege Turkey from the south by aiding Kurdish militant groups in Syria as if they were fighting against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Erdoğan said: “No one should try to cheat us.”

Erdoğan also reacted to Washington over arms transfers to Kurdish militants in Syria while not approving Turkish requests: “I am ordering my minister here. From now on our police will not use SIG Sauer weapons; they should not use them. We will use weapons made here.”

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