The Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (TÜSİAD) on Tuesday urged the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to continue with the EU accession process in order to become a full member of the union.
In a statement to mark May 9, Europe Day, TÜSİAD said “membership in the EU is a state policy that goes beyond party politics.”
Underlining that the EU accession process has been a successful one for the Turkish governments of the last 20 years, TÜSİAD said it is because of this process that Turkey has become a center of economic attraction and an important country for the West.
“Other than the economic relations, trade ties, technical accords and basic strategic cooperation with the EU, it must be considered that it is important to have a common future with the EU based on democratic values,” the statement said.
With a surprising and a paradoxal move Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also stated on Tuesday that “Turkey wants to continue EU bid in a win-win strategy for both sides.”
“Our country, which has been a historical, geographical and cultural part of Europe for centuries, demands to continue the membership process to the EU — a strategic target for us — within the scope of mutual respect and equality and the understanding of a win-win [outcome],” Erdoğan said in a written statement on Europe Day.
Erdoğan had said on early April that Europe is the center of Nazism today and will pay a heavy price for it. “Europe is finished. But they will pay a heavy price. During this process [EU-Turkey relations] all those things they used to claim they defend have crashed to the ground,” Erdoğan said during a referendum rally in Balıkesir.
“Today, in the eyes of billions of people, Europe is not a center of democracy, human rights and freedoms, but a center of pressure, violence and Nazism. We know it as this. Racists lead European leaders and governments by the nose. Europe no longer has anything to say to us or to the world. It’s a continent that has been rotting away,” added Erdoğan.
Criticizing a meeting of EU leaders at the Vatican with Pope Francis, Erdoğan had also said “the alliance of crusaders has shown itself in the end.”
“EU member states met at the Vatican. These developments bring something to mind. Why did you meet at the Vatican? Why did you meet before the pope? When did the pope become a member of the EU? The alliance of crusaders has shown itself in the end. That is it. What did you tell us up to now? ‘You repeat this, but there is no such thing. Yes, you [EU] won’t accept Turkey into the EU because Turkey is Muslim. I have said this now. Look at what will happen tomorrow,” said Erdoğan during a referendum campaign rally in İstanbul’s Sancaktepe district.
On April 2, Erdoğan had called on people to respond to the EU, which he described as the alliance of crusaders, in a referendum on April 16
Speaking during a meeting of the Anatolian Publishers Association in Ankara late March, Erdoğan had said, “If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the world can safely walk on the streets. Europe will be damaged by this. We, as Turkey, call on Europe to respect human rights and democracy,” he said.
Ties between EU states and Turkey have also soured amid human rights concerns following President Erdoğan’s call on the government to reinstate capital punishment and a sweeping crackdown on suspected supporters of a failed military coup last July. Tens of thousands of people, including soldiers, judges, teachers and civil servants, have been arrested or sacked from their jobs. (SCF with turkishminute.com) May 9, 2017